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f u 




MAY 
JUNE 



HIP 



lias 



F. HAROLD BASTICK 
SIDNEY COLE 
THOROLD DICKINSON 
GEORGE H. ELVIN 
KENNETH GORDON 
KAY KETTLEWELL 
LAWRENCE P. WILLIAMS 
I. D. WRATTEN 




THE DUPLICATE NEGATIVE 
SNOW SHOOTING IN COLOUR 
ELECTIONS OF A PIONEER CAMERAMAN 

TEN YEARS — OF WHAT? 

The New Films Act Analysed 




line 




rain 



KODAK'S new fine grain duplicating 
film stocks are already being exten- 
sively used with remarkable success,- 
il is found that a print made from 
the Fine Grain Duplicating Negative 
is practically indistinguishable from 
one made from the original negative 
. . . full particulars from Motion 
Picture Film Sales (Dept. 21), Kodak 
Limited, Kingsway, London, W.C.2. 



G 



KODAK fine grain DUPLICATING POSITIVE 



a 



D 



KODAK fine grain DUPLICATING NEGATIVE 



D 



INDEX TO VOLUME IV. 



Page 



A. C.T's Fifth Anniversary 62 

Academy Technical Awards 14 

Acoustics Perspective in Motion 

Pictures 52 

Acting for the Screen 33 

"American Cinematography Hand- 
book 26 

Among {he Amateurs 163 

Amplification and Distribution of 

Sound, The ... 174 

Anglo-American Trade Agreement, The 153 

Army of the Inept, The 92 

Art Director in Motion Pictures ... 8 

Artistic Future of Films, The 63 

B. J. Photographic Journal 211 

Behind the Screen 28 

Best of Two Thousand Movies, T'.ie ... 1S1 

Big Screen Television 147 

Blood is Thicker 104 

Books on Cinematography, A List of 29 

British Film Institute, What is This? 88 

British Film Institute Report 166 

Captain's Chair, The " 1 38 

" Careers in the Films " 26 

Censored 202 

Charles Laughton and I " 139 

Charter for Lab. Workers 185 

Cinema Log ... 20, 42, 84, 130, 154, 205 

Civil Liberty 162 

Colour — The New Technique no 

Coloured Shadows 36 

Commercial Sub-Standard Processing 183 

Correspondence 99, 168 

Directing in Dufaycolor 82 



Duplicate Negative, The 

Duplicate Negatives in Motion Picture 

Production ... 

Electrical Trades Union, Agreement 



With 81 

Electronics. Recent Advances In ... 112 

Factories Acts Report 98 

Film Director Turns Novelist 100 

Film Slump. William Hickey on the 157 

Film Society, The 19, 137 

Film Workers Discuss Their Problems 182 

Filming at the Zoo ,.. 44 

Films Council, The 41, 80 

Films for Democracy 168 

" Films in the Making " 138 

Foreign Technicians 65, 79 

Forrester Talks on His American Trip 132 

Forward in Hollywood 105 

Four Hundred Thousand Colour and 

Density Combinations 180 

From Slide to Screen 126 



Page 



German Films in Bad Way 94 

" Guide to Employment, A" 100 

" History of the Film " ... 1/5 

Hollywood Award for A.C.T. Member 209 
Hollywood — On a Bicycle Made for 

Two [90 

'' How to Write and Sell Film Stories " 26 

I Wish I Could Join 90 

Indian Films Run 45 Weeks 65 

Industry's Front Page, The 199 

Introduction to Hollywood 150 

Is a Good Script More Important 

Than Good Direction? 194 

Lab. Social Activities 131 

Lab. Topics 24, 59, 91, 164 

Lectures and Film Shows 103 

Less Hours, More Quality 37 

Lessons from " Men With Wings " ... 163 

Library ... 124 

Light Change 99 

Loudon's Reason's for the Depression 153 
Maintenance of a Developer by Con- 
tinuous Replenishment 169 

Man with a Movie Camera 158 

Manor House Hospital 60 

Melies Exhibition 61 

Melies — Pioneer, George 22 

Microphone, A New 46 

" Minitography and Cinetography " 100 

" Motion Picture Sound Engineering " 138 

Mr. Pigswill Reflects 2 '2 

" My Wife's the Least of It " 64 

N.A.T.K.E 75 

New Books on Photography 139 

Non-Slip Sound Printer 133 

Not Built in a Day 99 

Obituary 55, 05, 119 

Olympic Dinner and Dance 211 

"One Minus Two" 174 

Out of Leo's Den 38 

Paul Robeson Tells Us Why - 74 

Peepshow 76 

Physical Education and the Film, 

Report on 209 . 

Pictures in Wartime 56 

Pigswill Saga. The 68 

Pigswill's Penurious Progress 140 

Pioneer Cameraman, Recollections of a 7 

Pioneers 48 

Portrait Gallery 98, 131 

Post Office on Parade 60 

Practical Guide to Amateur Photo- 
graphy, A 64 

President Gets Around, The 209 

Prestige to British Films 81 



Page 



Primate and the Cinema, The 119 

Progress — With a Protest 96 

Projecting Britain 208 

R.P.S. Exhibition 124 

Ray of Hope, A 78 

Reading Room and Library 25 

Real Co-operation at Pinewood ... 77 
Recent Publications 

22, 26, 64, 98, rco, 138, 174, 21 1 
Religious Films, Growth of Demand 

lor 19 

Renoir Discusses His Past, Present and 

Future [77 

Ruskin College 122, 160 

Russian Films, Distribution of 14b 

S.E. London Photographic Exhibition 29 

Scenario Competition 6, 1(37 

Scribble on Us Film Scribblers, A ... 35 

Secrets of Tempo Revealed 98 

Shakespeare, Shaw and the Screen ... 123 

Shooting in Holland 120 

Shooting in Spain I 

Shot at Dawn 72 

Slumming Around the Globe 32 

Snow Shooting in Colour 3 

Social Insurance 96 

Solar Mirrors 47 

Spanish Entertainment Workers' 

Union 198 

Studio and Equipment for Sale ... 60 

Studio Passes, A ... 117 

" Tatler " Has a Try Out 43 

Technical Abstracts 

30, 66, 101, 135, 210 

Television 69 

Ten Years— Of What? 15 

Thank You, Mr. Stanley 11b 

This Freedom 141 

Three-day Bath for Madeleine 149 

Three New Negative Films 156 

Three Thousand Pictures a Second 148 

Too Hot! 128 

Trade Union History and Practice ... 192 

Trade Unionist's View of Politics, A ... 22 

Trades Union Congress 97, 136 

" We Make the Movies " 64 

Western Electric Progress . ... 166 

When Film Studios Burn 167 

Winter Programme 122 

Women and the A.C.T s8 

Year Older, A 13 

Year's Credits, The 152 

You Now Work in a Factory =14 

Zoom, A Description of the Varo Lens 95 



Aman, Leigh 3S, 208 

Anderson, Max 29, 61 

Asquith, Anthony 123 

Balcon, Micky 90 

Bastick, F. Harold 7 

Belfrage, Cedric 105 

Birt, Dan 138 

Bond, Ralph 174, 185 

Bowler, Stanley 183 

Brunei, Adrian 194, 204 

Bundock. Clement J. 203 

Carver, Francis 72 

Cole, Sidney ... 1, 28, 74, 117, 127, 175 

Craik, Bert 40 

Cummings, A. J. 202 

Dalrymple, Ian 35 

Dickinson, Thorold 19 

Dossett, A 99 

Drury, Drummond 190 

Elvin , George 1 1 . 

•5< 54> §5, 80, roo, 127, 136, 141 

Evans, Ralph M 169 

Ford, Freddie 158 

Forrester, Donald 132 



CONTRIBUTORS. 



Fredman, Ernest W. 








202 


'' Gamma " 


... 24 


. 59. 


9i. 


164 


Geary, D. H 








148 


Gordon, Kenneth 










20, 42, 84, 


130, 


154. 


163, 


205 


Gordon, Michael ... 






60, 


100 


Graham, E. A. ... 


26, 56, 




100, 


21 1 


Ilawes, Stanley 




... 44' 6 4. 


138 


Herring, Robert 








181 


Howard, Leslie 








33 


Kanturek, Otto 








150 


Kettlewell, Kay 








5 


Kidd, Ronald 








204 


Knowles, Bernard 








1 10 


Land 




98> 


131. 


Ml 


Langley, Bryan 








120 


Launder, Frank 








194 


Low 






7S, 


205 


Lyndon-Haynes, T. i 




' 1, 


63. 


69 


Macnamara, T. C. 








69 


Mander, Geoffrey 








203 


Montagu, Ivor 






L39. 


T74 


Neill-Brown, J. 










26, 90, 


100, 


126, 


152, 


199 



1 ' Nemo " 96 

Newberry, G. H 138 

Overton, L. E 174 

Pearson, George 82 

" Pigswill " 32, 68, 104, 140, 176, 212 

Pollard, R. S. W 162 

Pretel, Felipe 198 

Reeves, Joseph 203 

Reiniger. Lotte 36 

Renoir, Jean 177 

Robeson, Paul 74 

Robinson, Wyndham 146 

Selby-Lowndes, Alison 58 

" Tatler " 43 

Tomrley, C 78 

Twist, D. N. 203 

Tvfield, Neil 64 

West, A. G. D .... 112 

Wiggins, Jack 76 

Williams, L. P 8 

Woodcock, George 192 

Wratten, I. D 4, 156 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. Telephone: GERRARD 2366. 
Advertisement Office: 5 and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, W.C. 1 . Telephone: HOLBORN 4972. 



Volume Four, Number Fifteen MAY-JUNE, 1938 Price Ninepence 



SHOOTING IN SPAIN 

By SIDNEY COLE. 



THE Italian bombers came at 10.30 p.m. Tbat 
was March 16th. Their raids continued through 
the night at half-hour intervals until 1.30 a.m., 
and alter that at 7.35 a.m. and 10.15 a.m. Lawson, 
Montagu, and I arrived back in Barcelona at 5 o'clock 
that afternoon in time for the further raids at 10.30 
p.m., 1.15 a.m., 4.30 a.m., 7 a.m. and 10 a.m.. with 
two in the afternoon of the 18th (1.15 and 2.50) to finish 
off. To the envy of my colleagues I managed to sleep 
through two of the raids during the night. In these 
raids 1,400 people were killed and about 3,000 more 
injured. The Calle de Cortes, one of the big streets of 
Barcelona, was the scene of the most damage. Two 
hundred yards from the University, on either side of a 
street f.bout twice as broad as Regent Street, seven 
solidly built eight-story houses had been completely 
shattered. Two or three of them had vanished com- 
pletely and it was possible to see through into the next 
street. 

Shots of this destruction figure in the two films — 
"SPANISH A. B.C." and "BEHIND THE SPANISH 
LINES" — which the units I was with went to Spain to 
make. The units comprised Ivor Montagu, producer; 
Thorold Dickinson and myself, directors; Arthur Graham 
and Alan Lawson, cameramen ; Kay Pitt and Phillip 
Leacock. cutters. But our main object was not to stress 
such horrors as these, but rather the every-day life of a 
country fighting a war on its own soil, an angle that gets 
rather overlooked when people have become accustomed 
to journalistic exaggeration. When I got back I saw the 
English papers of that period, with such headlines as 
"Barcelona In Flames". That was wildly far from the 
truth. Unless you happen to wander down the particu- 
lar streets that have been hit the town presents a quite 
normal appearance. 

Another press comment that surprised me on m\ 
return was the article in the March issue of "World 
Film News" by Richard Butler, Lathe cameraman. Mr. 
Butler was only in Spain for nine days, whereas our 
stay was for ten weeks, and the picture he paints is very 
different from the one that we knew. All cars, he says, 
have painted on them the initials of the organisation to 
which the owner belongs and, of course, a sickle and 
hammer painted on somewhere". I never saw a single 
car with the initials of any political organisation jjrinted 
on it, and the absence of the sickle and hammer would 



probably have disappointed T/ie Daily Mail. The only 
initials I did see were U.G.T. and C.N.T. on the tram- 
cars, buses and trains, to signify that the two Trade 
Union organisations, formerly deadly rivals, have com- 
posed their differences. In complete amity and very 
efficiently they conduct the transport services of 
Barcelona. 

I heard nothing of the loud-speakers Butler mentions 
as broadcasting propaganda and political songs until 1 
a.m. in the morning. He must have been very unfortun- 
ate too, in the roads his chauffeur chose to take in his 
attempt to get to Madrid. Spanish roads are few in 
number but the main roads, although a little narrow 
for great volumes of traffic, are in good repair and quite 
well surfaced. But Butler's strangest anecdote is about 
the sentry who demanded his papers and then "mumbled 
something in Russian." I gather from the rest of the 
article that Butler possesses small French and less 
Spanish. He probably was not in Spain long enough 
to realise that Spain has quite a number of dialects and 
that what he rather hastily assumed was Russian was 
probably Catalan, the language of Catalonia, or even that 
almost entirely incomprehensible language, Basque. 
Anyhow, if it was Russian, Butler scores over us, be- 
cause we did not see or hear one in the whole of our ten 
weeks. 

I was sorry to read that he got himself arrested (al- 
though newsreel cameramen are surely not entirely sur- 
prised when that sort of thing happens to them in a war 
zone). Had he been able to produce an A.C.T. card he 
would have found that membership of one's Trade Union 
carried weight in Republican Spain. We ourselves ob- 
tained all the facilities we wanted from the Foreign 
Press Department, who. although transport facilities 
were rather difficult at times, invariably gave us all the 
help they could. We became very used to being stopped 
on the roads by the controls stationed outside each town, 
and soon realised the paramount importance of possess- 
ing the proper credentials and authorisations. 

The cafes are full, even if some of the liquor sold 
doesn't exactly live up to the name on the bottle. The 
cinemas are always well attended. They have not been 
receiving any new films but the old favourites, such as 
Eddie Cantor, Popeye, Mickey Mouse and the Marx 
Brothers are run again and again without any diminution 
of popularity. I visited a Music Hall, a sort of Barcelona 



2 



T HE CINE - TECH MCI A N 



May-June, L988 



equivalent to the Holborn Empire, which was not quite 
so well attended, being very near the port and con- 
sequently rather more likely to get in the way oi any 
bombs that dropped. The level of the performance was 
quite high, and included what 1 believe is B peculiarly 
Spanish type of comedian who undertakes to make a 
pun or w isecrack of some kind on any word that members 
nl the audience care to shout out to him. Whilst we 
were in Barcelona the Opera Season started with a per- 
formance of "Samson and Delilah" with French stars in 
the leads. Dickinson and Graham went to tins and found 
it a lengthy it enjoyable experience. There were two 
air-raids during the performance and with a certain lack 
of co-operation the Italians timed them not to coin- 
cide with the long intervals, hut with the middle 

of each act. During these interruptions the audience sat 
quite happily talking or listening to the orchestra giving 
a spirited rendering of the Catalan national anthem. 
Dickinson and Graham eventually arrived back at the 
hotel (much to our relief) at 8 a.m. 

Nothing seems to have disturbed the habit ol the 
Spanish women of enjoying the sun while they do their 
knitting and sewing. Wherever 1 went, before or alter 
air-raids or in the villages quite near the front line. 1 saw 
little circles ol women sitting on the pavement with their 
backs turned to the world interested only in their needle- 
work and the local gossip. The same is true about Madrid, 
although the dislocation inevitably produced by the war 
is a little more apparent in that all entertainment stops 
in Madrid at 8 p.m., so that if you want to see a film or 
play you have to go somewhere between 5 or 6 p.m. But 
the Puerta del Sol, the main square of Madrid, at most 
times of the day looks rather like Piccadilly Circus, with 
plenty of people walking along the pavements and haw- 
kers busily trying to sell silk handkerchiefs and trinkets 
to them. The shops, too, are open, making the best of 
what they have. Montagu saw a shop one morning — the 
proprietor had just opened up for the day and stood at the 
door beaming in the sun. His window was neatly filled 
with nice clean white boxes, and in the centre of the 
window was a sign which said in Spanish : "We have 
no articles of any kind for sale." 

Take a car from the Puerta del Sol. In five 
minutes you are passing through the stone barricades 
which were erected at the end of the streets 
in November, 193b. Close to is the Casa del 
Campo, the Hyde Park of Madrid. Imagine that it is 
Hyde Park and that you enter by the gate at Hyde Park 
Corner and that beyond the Park the town comes to an 
end. You drive to the centre of the Park and then get 
out and walk up a roofed communication trench to the 
front line. Looking through the slit of an observation 
post you see, 300 yards away, the Fascist trenches. To 
the north (imagine to yourself the houses along the Bays- 
water Road) lies University City. Through those houses 
continues the front line. 

We visited the iront line to take shots for "SPANISH 
A.. B.C.," because perhaps the most remarkable thing 
is the attention being paid to education. Spain had 
the highest illiteracy rate in Europe, namely 52%, 
and the Government faced a tremendous task in trying to 
get rid of this state of affairs. Then the war started and 
by the middle of last year most of the men they had to 
teach were fighting in the army. They consequently 
lormed a special department of the Ministry of Education, 
called the Militias of Culture, whose job it was to give 



classes to the sokliers. This they did, right up to and 
including the lront line. In the Casa de Campo we 
visited a school where some two dozen soldiers were being 
taught their A. B.C. This, like the observation post, was 
300 yards from the enemy trenches, and needless to say, 
there were no windows on the outside wall. In the nine 
months since the Militias of Culture started it has taught 
their letters to about 10,000 soldiers each month. 

Madrid is no longer bombed irorn the air. Apparently 
it had proved too expensive because of the efficacy of 
anti-aircraft guns and fighter planes. But one lunch 
time we heard a factory syren, which is the usual method 
of air-raid warning, and dashing out into the street, we 
looked up and saw eight or nine black shapes in perfect 
formation. Everybody in the street was looking up at 
them. Suddenly, as we watched, the formation wavered, 
and with a roar of Laughter the Madrid crowd realised 
that it was a flock of wild geese, followed immediately 
by an enormous mass formation of about 100 more. 

We had naturally to work rather quickly because it 
could vers rarely be the case that we would have an 
opportunity to revisit any location. At the same time, of 
course, we equally could not know exactly what material 
would be found at any location. Consequently after a 
rapid preliminary survey we had to make up our minds 
very quickly. It was doubtless very good training to have 
to justify every shot, but cypress trees and mountains 
kept tempting us with their possibilities. 

We had with us two Newman Sinclair cameras and 
two Eyemos. We at times found it necessary, hi 
shooting interiors, to use lighting which we supplied by 
means of photo-floods purchased in Barcelona, and run 
off the local power. In photographing some coalmines at 
a village called Meqinenza. where there was no electric 
supply, we had to use the miners' carbide lamps as a 
source of illumination and to move the miners holding 
them around as if they were spots on the studio floor. 
(The miners, by the way, gave us a grand time. The 
village has since been captured and most of them. I 
suppose, have fled or been shotj. On another occasion, 
in the trenches in Madrid, we very successfully used the 
reflectors from our lamps as sun reflectors to project light 
from outside the door on to the faces of the men we 
were photographing. 

All our processing was done in Spanish laboratories, 
the bulk of it in Barcelona but some of it in Madrid. 
Owing to the shortage of stock we had to take with us 
our own positive stock for this purpose. In Madrid the 
laboratory showed us with great pride a newsreel. the 
picture of which had been shot on sound stock, which, 
apart from a slight softness, was of very good quality. 

A fascinating and instructive experience. 



SNOW SHOOTING IN COLOUR 

[Continued from page 3) 

amateur skating, taken on the Palace Hotel Ice Kink. 
Other noted personalities were secured at the exclusive 
Corriglia Club. During one week-end. the filming party 
went on an expedition into the famous Diavolezza Glacier 
in the region of the celebrated Pitz Palu. It took 4i hours 
to climb, but it was worth it ! 

Personally, I found this St. Moritz commission very 
enjoyable and, at times, distinctly entertaining. The 
experience with colour in such an exceptional location as 
this is something which will have endless value 



May-Juuei 1938 



r H E C I N E - T E C H X I C 1 A N 




THIS year has seen the increased popularity of 
Switzerland as a location for exteriors — the ideally 
clear atmosphere and impressive settings giving a 
high-merit quality to photographic production of all 

kinds. 

During the "season" the outlook is, of course, full 
of animation and this, coupled with the gay clothing of 
the ski-ing, skating, and bob-sleighing enthusiasts, makes 
such locations as St. Moritz especially attractive for colour 
filming — definitely a revelation to those who have 
imagined that the great contrast between the bright blue 
sky and the white glare of the snow might produce un- 
satisfactory conditions. Any such possibility is offset by 
the quality of reflected light there, which throws up soft 
tints of blue-green and rose-pink into the shadows of the 
snow. Beautiful effects are obtainable in the glaciers, 
from the glassy green and rose-pink shadows in the under- 
cuts of ice. In the distance the shadows on the sides of 
glaciers are mauve. I turned four thousand feet 
in all,* and the quality has turned out to be very good. 
The film, being in colour, really has something new. Par- 
ticularly noticeable is the surprising range of colours, 
especially in the long shots. 

To give some indication of light values with regard to 
colour, it is possible at times to stop down to f.H and f.9 
for exposures when shooting long and medium shots; and 
to t. 5.6 and f.6.3 on close-ups. 

I had no trouble with the running of the cameras 
with regard to oil ; the only danger was of grease or dirt 
freezing on the lenses. No special lubrication was used. 

The question has been asked whether filters are used 
with this system (Dufay-Chromex). On this particular 
trip no filters were used for normal shots ; but some ex- 
periments were made with a blue filter supplied by Dufay- 
Chromex for shooting night effects by sunlight. These 
shots have proved quite successful. The only other aid 
to the photographic side of the camera-work was the use 
of soft silver and soft gold reflectors, which were very 

usefu l when shooting close-ups by the setting sun. 

* Mr. Kettlewell was cameraman to the DROCO MONTAGU Film 
Unit — St Moritz location. 



SNOW 

SHOOTING 

IN 

COLOUR 

by 

KAY 

KETTLEWELL. 



Diavolezzo Glacier, with Kay 
Kettlewell in foreground . 



ft is possible to obtain some unique effects by track- 
ing on skis, having the camera on a sling supported round 
the shoulders. The result is quite steady, provided, of 
course, that the operator can control a pair of skis. It 
is really dangerous to attempt this stunt if not. That a 
nast\ accident could occur here will be realised when one 
remembers that it is easy to reach a ski speed of 30-40 
miles per hour without any effort. 

Another method of tracking is on skates, but this 
again requires the necessary skill on the part of the opera- 
tor. Perhaps the safest way is to fix the camera on the 
front of a bob-sleigh. Then the operator can sit behind 
his camera quite safely; and the sleigh is simply pushed 
from the rear. The only disadvantage is that it must 
be on quite smooth snow or ice. as the bob-sleigh cannot 
travel over gullies and depressions in the snow without 
bumping. On skis, this difficulty does not exist. The 
difficulty of keeping on one's feet, when photographing 
skating sequences on the ice, is overcome by wearing 
sheep-skin overboots with thick crepe rubber soles. With 
these it is possible to walk practically anywhere without 
slipping, and even to run if necessary. 

A snag which had to be overcome was the sinking of 
the tripod legs in deep snow. No matter to what length 
the legs were extended, the snow was always deeper, mak- 
ing it impossible to get a level camera. This difficulty 
was solved by the use of a triangle fitted with spikes at 
each cornoi - . This remained on the surface of the snow 
and carried the weight of the camera quite effectively 
When photographing on the glaciers with sheet ice under 
the feet, it was a simple matter to stamp on the corners 
of the triangle— which made the spikes pierce the surface 
of the ice and thus hold the triangle with camera per- 
fectly firmly. 

On this St. Moritz job the unit shot scenes of the 
Kilometre Lance, the fastest ski race in the world 
(90 m.p.h.), while other sequences included the Cresta 
Run and Bobsleigh Run, and the Ski Jump (showing 
actual jumps of 70 metres). Other shots included Megan 
Taylor, the recent World Championship winner for 
(Continued on page 2) 



I 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



May-June, 1938 



THE DUPLICATE NEGATIVE 

I. D. WRATTEN (Technical Service Kodak Ltd.) 

Based on a lecture given to A. CI', members on 



T 



March ljtli, 1938 
seems to be no doubt that the making ol 



2 20 
* 00 



HEBE 

duplicate negatives is a process on which 



there 



are many and varied opinions as to the most suit- 
able procedure. Theoretically, at least, the print 
from the duplicate negative should compare favourably 
with a print from the original negative, but in actual prac- 
tice this state of affairs is rarely obtained, and it is 
usually fairly easy for the observer to determine whether 
a projected print has or has not been obtained from a 
duplicate negative. Prints from the duplicate negatives 
frequently show a loss in the reproduction of tonal values 
coupled with an increase in graininess, and it is on these 
two delects that we might well start our discussion on 
duplication procedure. 

In order to obtain correct tone reproduction it is 
necessary that the exposure for both the master positive 
and the duplicate negative should produce minimum den- 
sities within the straight line portion of the characteristic 
curves of the two materials, and that the overall gamma, 
i.e. the product of the positive and negative gamma 
values, should be equal to unity. 

The avoidance of graininess is the second difficulty, 
and while a small increase in graininess appears to be in- 
evitable, it can be kept within satisfactory limits by de- 
veloping the two duplicating materials in accordance with 
their graininess characteristics, i.e., to develop the dup- 
licating positive film to a relatively high gamma value and 
to develop the duplicating negative film to a correspond- 
ingly low gamma value. This is a fairly simple matter 
to accomplish, but great care should be taken not to de- 
velop the master positive to too high a gamma value, be- 
cause at high gamma values the latitude of the duplicating 
positive is diminished and if the original negative tends 
to be contrasty there will be a serious loss in tone repro- 
duction. 

In Fig 1 is shown a series of characteristic curves of 
duplicating positive film developed in D.16 developer, and 
if. therefore, we select a gamma value of 1.90 as being 
satisfactory, we must ensure that the minimum density 
on our master positive print shall be on the straight lino 
portion of the curve if the highlights of the original nega- 




Duplicating tIe t atlTe 




.(Type 1505) developed In D.76. 





















LOG Cj030SU«C 

Fig. 2 

tive are to he satisfactorily rendered, and it will be seen 
that in this case the density should be about 0.5. In 
Fig. 2 will be seen a series of characteristic curves of 
duplicating negative film, and here a gamma value of 
between 0.5 and 0.05 will be satisfactory and the mini 
mum densitv on the negative should be between 0.35 
and 0.4. 

The master positive will, thereiore, differ in appear- 
ance from an ordinary release print by reason of its in- 
creased density, and the duplicate negative will appear 
only slightly heavier than the original negative. 

There is little doubt but that this method is the most 
suitable for obtaining a really satisfactory duplicate nega- 
tive with the normal duplicating films, and the only other 
point worthy of emphasis is that exceptional care should 
be taken in grading (or timing) when making the master 
positive. Test strips should be made and the minimum 
densities on these strips measured if uniformly good re- 
sults are to be obtained from scene to scene on each reel 
of film. 

It is assumed that it is unnecessary to point out the 
necessity for carefully cleaning the original negative be- 
fore making the master positive, for ensuring close and 
uniform contact of the films at the printing aperture, and 
for using the most careful developing technique, because 
these are all basic requirements in the duplication process 
and it must be obvious that when the exhibition print is 
made irom a duplicate negative three developing opera- 
tions have intervened, and all defects are cumulative. 

While the normal duplicating films are capable of 
reproducing faithfully the tonal values of the original, the 
duplicating process is usually accompanied by an increase 
in graininess. Quite recently, however, the Kodak- 
organisation introduced on to the American and English 
markets two entirely new products designed for making 
satisfactory duplicates free from graininess. These two 
films are named Eastman Fine Grain Duplicating 
Positive and Eastman Fine Grain Duplicating Negative, 
and since their use entails certain departures from 
normal duplicating practice it will be worth while dis- 
cussing these two new products fairly completely. 

The new fine grain Duplicating Positive film consists 
of a yellow dyed positive type emulsion coated on a clear 
support, the photographic speed being considerably less 
than that of the normal positive product. The most 
satisfactory development characteristics are obtained 
when this film is developed in a D.76 type of developer, 
within ,-i gamma range of 1.00 and 1.5. Fig. 3 shows a 



May-June, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



300 

280 

260 

240 

2 20 

2 00 

160 

h 160 
M 

2 140 

u 

° .20 
I 00 
80 
feO 
40 



DUPLICATING POSITIVE 
DEVELOPED IN D-7& 




Fie. 



series of Fine Grain Duplicating Positive curves obtained 
in a D.76 developer. An important point is that there is 
practically no fog under normal conditions of use. When 
the Eastman Type 2B. Sensitometer is used, satisfactory 
exposures can be made if the filter is removed and 
multiple exposures of two, or even three times given. The 
new film is similar to ordinary positive film with regard 
to its colour sensitivity and it can, therefore, be used 
under similar safelight conditions in the darkrooms. 

The new Duplicating Negative film differs completely 
from the normal types of duplicating negative product in 
that it is a low contrast panchromatic emulsion of low 
speed. Fig 4 shows a series of curves developed in D.76, 
and it should be stated at this point that a development 
time sufficient to obtain gamma values of between 0.60 
and 0.70 is recommended. Although this new emulsion 
is slower in speed than a normal duplicating negative film 
the difference in speed is not excessive, and a single ex- 
posure, at the positive setting of the Type 2B. Sensito- 
meter is sufficient. 

The spectogram in Fig. 5 shows the spectral sensi- 
tivity of the new film. This extended colour sensitivity 
gives additional speed to the film, but requires that it be 
handled under negative safelight conditions. 

Both these new films have a very fine grain structure, 
but the photographic image differs from the normal 
image in appearance, being brown in colour and some- 
what transparent. Since the image is brown in colour, 
however, the effective density in printing is greater than 
would appear visually and so is the printing contrast. 
This point must be kept in mind because in making 
tests on these two materials when using them for the 
first time some laboratories experienced failure owing to 
excessive contrast, due in all probability to the fact that 
the Fine Grain Duplicating Positive material was 
developed to too high a gamma value. When making 
tests on these two new materials, therefore, the safest 
method of ascertaining whether or not the correct con- 
ditions of master positive and duplicate negative have 
been obtained is to actually compare prints made from 
the original negative with those made from the Fine 
Grain duplicate negative, although if the following recom- 
mendations are adhered to, little or no trouble should lie 
experienced. 

From general experience it is possible to state that 
the new Fine drain Duplicating Positive should be 



developed in a D.76 type developer to a gamma value of 
between 1 00 and 1.5 and that the minimum density on 
the print should be about 0.70 so as to keep on the 
straight line portion of the curve and thereby ensure 
successful tone reproduction. In view of the low speed 
oi this duplicating positive material it is beneficial to 
develop to the maximum permissable gamma value 
(1.50). The Fine Grain Duplicating Negative material 
should be developed to a gamma value of between 0.60 
and 0.70, and the minimum density on the resultant 
negative should be somewhere between 0.40 and 0.45. 

Since the photographic characteristics of these two 
new duplicating films differ from those of the normal 
product, it will be found that certain modifications to 
existing equipment are in most cases advisable if the. 
two materials are to be handled satisfactorily. In the 
first instance the fact that the two new products, par- 
ticularly the Fine Grain Duplicating Positive, are slower 



300 - 

1 80 
?feO 
Z 40 

2 20 
2 00 - 



DirPLICATING NEGATIVE 
DEVELOPED IN D-7(j 




than the normal films has already been emphasised, and 
this in itself requires a modification to the printer, 
whether continuous or intermittent. This modification 
should be to increase the exposure, either by a reduction 
in the speed of printing, or by using a light source of 
higher intensity, or both. The usual type of intermit Lent 
printer is fairly easily modified in these two respects, and 
most continuous printers can also be modified, although 
a continuous printer is sometimes difficult to control at 
a steady speed without flutter at, say, fifteen feet per 
minute. The normal 100-watt lamp should be replaced 
with one of 250 or even 500 watts, and this usually 
entails suitable modifications to the lamphouse. to ensure 
satisfactory ventilation. If a resistance type light 
change is used on the particular printer set aside for 
this work the resistances themselves will need modifica- 
tion, and although moderate changes in lamp current do 



ryrjt rui". Net ?tm )Zoj 




Fig- 5 

[Continued on page 6) 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



May-June, 1086 



Scenario Competition for a 
Film on the League of Nations 

In accordance with a decision ot the Assembly oi the 
League of Nations at its 18th session, the Secretariat of 
the League has opened a competition, with prizes, for 
scenarios tor documentary films on the League ot Nations, 
(a) For a general film describing the fundamental 
purposes of the Covenant and the principal 
activities of the League ; 
ih) For a film dealing with some special branch or 
aspect of League work (e.g., the settlement 
of some political dispute ; some aspect of the 
work ot the Health Organisation — such as 
malaria, epidemics, standardisation ol sera : 
or Communications and Transit — such as the 
unification of road signals, buoying and light- 
ing of coasts, pollution of the sea by nil ; or 
the organisation of the control over the legi- 
timate trade in opium ami dangerous drugs, 
etc.) 

The films should lie sound films, with English and 
French versions. The maximum length ot the general film 
should be 6,000 feet, and that ot the special film aliout 

1,500 feet. 

Scenarios should he complete with detailed technical 
indications both as regards photography and sound. 
Scenarios should he written in French or English ; manu- 
scripts submitted in other languages will be considered 
only in as much as it will be possible for the Secretariat 
to obtain French or English translations without delaying 
unduly the work of the jury. 

Scenarios should be addressed to. and should reach 
the Secretary-General of the League ot Nations. Geneva, 
not later than August 1st, 1938. The name of the sender 
should be enclosed with the scenario in a sealed envelope : 
it should not appear on the scenario, which should bear a 
motto. The scenarios will lie judged by a competent 
international jury. 

The competition will not he limited to scenario 
writers who have professional experience, but competitors 
may indicate the nature of any previous experience they 
may have h id in the writing or scenarios. The copyright 
of all drait scenarios submitted for competition which re- 
ceive a prize will he vested in the League. 
Prizes will be awarded as follows: 

(a) For the general film, up to a total amount ol 
2,000 Swiss francs, the First Prize being not 
less than 1,000 Swiss francs: 
(h) For the special film, up to the amount of 700 
Sw iss francs, the Thirst Prize being not less 
than 400 Swiss francs. 

In th.' event of its being decided to produce a film 
from a successful scenario, the Secretariat may invite the 
author to assist in its production, in which case an addi- 
tional payment, of an amount to be agreed upon with the 
author, may be made. It is understood that the Secre- 
tariat has the right, in the case of any film for which an 
award has been made, to make such changes in the 
scenario as may be necessary for its production as a film. 

All requests for further information in connection 
with this competition should be addressed to the Director, 
Information Section. Secretariat of the League of 
Nations, Geneva, 



THE DUPLICATE NEGATIVE 

(Continued from page 5) 

not seriously affect photographic contrast when the two 
new duplicating films are used, a matte or diaphragm 
type of light change is preferable. If the latter two 
types of light change are used, consideration should be 
given to the possibility of using the new high pressure 
mercury vapour lamps, since in addition to certain other 
advantages, these new lamps would not require marn 
changes in the laniphouse to increase ventilation. 

It has been stated that the new Fine Grain duplicat 
ing materials should be developed in a D.76 developer, 
and in this connection the bath normally used for the 
development of picture negative is satisfactory. Most 
laboratories usually work with a J). 70 type of developer, 
slightly weaker than the original D.70 formula. It will 
be noted that the yellow dye in the duplicating positive 
is discharged rapidly during development, giving a slight 
coloration to the developer, but this has no effect on 
the properties of the developer and can safely be ignored. 

Complete fixation in the normal picture negative 
fixing-hardening bath is attained comparatively rapidly, 
and no unusual precautions are necessary at this stage, 
except to make sure that the two new films are not over 
hardened by prolonged immersion in the bath. Under 
conditions of machine development, using the normal 
fixing-hardening baths used in this country, fixation is 
completed in from two to three minutes. No special 
modifications are required in the subsequent washing, 
but the Fine Grain films dry rather more rapidly than 
positive film, and consequently the drying rate in the 
cabinets should be reduced in the most convenient man- 
ner, such as by reducing the (dry bulb) temperature or 
decreasing the air velocity through the cabinets. 

Little more need be said on the subject of these new 
Fine Grain Duplicating Films, other than to point out 
that the smooth, rather glossy emulsion surlaces of the 
new films are slightly more susceptible to abrasions than 
are the normal duplicating films, and that in consequence 
more than usual care should be taken in handling them. 



RECOLLECTIONS OF A PIONEER 
CAMERAMAN 

(Continued from page 71 

and so on were made with their help. 

I once spent hours getting a sequence ot shots in 
which the main player was a prehistoric animal of the 
Dinosaurus type. He had to do a lot of chasing about 
over rocks after a little band of white hunters and was 
eventually killed by them. In the actual scenes he was 
shown hot on their heels the w hole time ; for realism both 
the Dinosaurus and his hunters appeared on the scene at 
the same time. Actually the sequence entailed an enor- 
mous amount of work in making exact plaster replicas ot 
real rocky scenes I had already shot. However, the most 
difficult part of the whole business was the making up of 
a small lizard to play the part of the Dinosaurus. Apart 
from the patience needed in constantly re-fixing a tiny 
saw-edged strip of cardboard spikes that ran from his head 
to the tip of his tail, he was about the most temperamen- 
tal performer I have ever come across. The direction in 
which I wanted him to go and that which he took were 
always "as the poles apart." 

These are but a few of the snags that were overcome 
by the little band of pioneers in the early days. 



May-June. 1938 



THE C fXR-TECHNICI AN 



7 



Recollections of a Pioneer Cameraman 

By F. HAROLD BASTICK. 



w 



HEN J first went into the picture business 
nearly thirty years ago, trick photography was 
more of a necessity than a stunt. It was just 
as important to pack our thousand toot 
"feat ures with spectacles and dramatic effects as is the 
case with the more ambitious productions of modern 
studios. The great difference however, was that in place 
of unlimited resources in technical apparatus, capital and 
facilities, we had to rely entirely on imagination and in- 
genuity — in other words "Fake." 

No matter how ambitious the script or what extrava- 
gant situations it called for, ways and means were always 
devised to "put it on the screen." 

1 was lucky enough to start my career as a camera- 
man with W. R. Booth, a pioneer producer and genius 
at trick photography. He was originally with Maskelyne 
and Cook at the Egyptian Hall, so was literally steeped 
in the art of illusion. In his outdoor (garden) "studio at 
isleworth, many trick effects were born which can be seen 
with surprising frequency in the picture theatres to-da\ . 
The very settings used were fakes. In the case of an 
interior, the entire room would be painted in black and 
white on a backcloth, the big Moy camera focussed on 
it, and real furniture set in positions to tally with the 
perspective of the backcloth. Realism was added by cut- 
ting a slit in the canvas and pushing a real table half- 
way into the hole to match up with the painted half-table 
on the cloth ! 

The then popular 500ft. "trick-comedies" produced 
many weird and wonderful ejects and provided us with 
plenty of practice in achieving the (apparently) impossible. 
In one, a man suffering from a hangover was sitting on 
his bed with a splitting headache. The camera moved 
to close-up and the man's head actually split in two, the 
gap widening until the half-heads were at either side of 
the screen. Out floated bottles of champagne, lobsters, 
etc., the hangover was cured and the half-heads reunited, 
registering a beatific expression of relief. Many equally 
fantastic effects were achieved by using a combination of 
one-turn-one-picture and reverse turning but as the 
cameras of those days were not fitted with reverse gears, 
they had to be turned upside down on the tripods and 
tinned in the ordinary way! 

While still with Booth, I was shown a completed 
film of Anstey's "Brass Bottle." The backer did not 
like the sudden appearances of the Genii (obviously ob- 
tained by the old "stop" method) and asked me if I could 
make them into something more gradual and artistic. I 
did so by having the two frames on either side of the 
"stop" enlarged to whole-plate stills. One. of course. 



showed the bottle lying in the foreground of the set and 
flic other the Genii standing beside it. The first still was 
pinned to a board and covered with a sheet of clear glass, 
the camera focussed on this giving the exact shot as 
originally taken. "Vapour," apparently coming from the 
mouth of the bottle, was then painted on the glass and 
taken, one-turn-one-picture, until it took the rough shape 
of the Genii. The second still was then substituted under 
the painted glass and the "vapour" gradually washed off, 
revealing the Genii in position. This length of film in- 
serted in the already completed picture gave the desired 
gradual appearance and brought me some measure of fame 
as a "fake expert. " 

Progress in trick photography was rapid and big 
strides were made in the gentle art of double exposure. 
It was soon possible to film one artiste playing twin parts 
in a really convincing manner and I believe I can claim 
to be the first cameraman to make a player shake hands 
with herself. 

This was in a ■"London Film" at the old St. Mar- 
garet's Studio, which was produced by Maurice Elvey. 
Elisabeth Risden was the star. The effect was obtained 
by using two model hands made by the property depart- 
ment. Fitting together in a perfect handclasp, they were 
covered with black gloves and attached to the high back 
of a chair placed exactly on the centre mask line. The 
one on the side to be shot first was then taken away and 
"Rizzy," wearing white gloves, simply had to grasp th 
one that remained. While winding back for the second 
exposure the dummy hand was replaced, its opposite 
number removed and the other half of the double expo- 
sure taken. 

The picture-going public had now become more 
critical and soon recognised a double exposure as such. 
Hence another incident in which the same star featured. 
It was an ordinary twin-part double exposure. In one 
scene she stood talking to her counterpart across a table 
through the centre of which ran the mask line. To con- 
found the critics, however, and prove this double ex- 
posure was not a double exposure, we provided a novel 
twist. As one figure moved towards the door to exit at 
the end of the scene, the other followed right across the 
picture and looked out after "herself." All that was 
done was to snatch the mask out of the camera during 
the second take, at the moment the artiste reached it 
and so leave the whole set clear. 

Models always played a large part in faking difficult 
or unusual scenes and most of the early train smashes 

{Continued on page 6) 



TITLE MAKERS TO THE BRITISH FILM INDUSTRY 

STUDIO FILM LABORATORIES LTD. 



80-82. WAR DOUR ST., LONDON W.I. 



GERR4RD 
I3if < 



8 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



May-June. 1938 



The Art Director in 
Motion Pictures 

by 

LAWRENCE P. WILLIAMS, 
A.R.I.B.A., A.A.Dip. 



The following article is based on a paper read, by arrange- 
ment with A.C.T., at the Annual Exhibition of the Royal 
Photographic Society. 

THE connection between the photographer and the 
art director must be very close if the final results 
on the screen are to bear even the most casual 
scrutiny. For my part I have been very fortunate 
during my ten years in the industry in being almost 
continuously connected with the same eamerman, one 
whose help and co-operation I have always enjoyed. And 
I should like to pay a tribute to Fred Young, whose work 
with the camera has undoubtedly helped to enhance the 
reputation of British films over a period of years. 

The duties of an art director and the nature of his 
work vary — not only with different personalities and dif- 
ferent circumstances, but with the different countries in 
which he may be employed. My personal experiences 
and contacts with art directors extend only to the coun- 
tries of Western Europe and America, though there are 
large and often flourishing motion picture industries in 
Eussia, China and Japan; the latter has, I believe, one 
of the largest outputs in the world, though their pictures 
are seldom seen in Europe and then only under the 
auspices of societies interested in the intellectual advance- 
ment of film production and not as commercial propo- 
sitions. 

Film production on the continent of Europe, though 
important as a national industry in some countries, has 
not risen so high in importance or organisation as it has 
in America, where it is, I believe, the fourth largest in- 
dustry, and where great companies of usually sound 
financial backing are continually employed in the pro- 
duction of pictures for the largest home market in the 
world. In other countries, France, Germany, Japan and 
Russia excepted, there is a subsidiary market showing 
a larger percentage of American pictures than of their 
home product. There are now a few companies in Eng- 
land modelled from the production point of view on those 




of America, though their much smaller market both at 
home and abroad necessitates the plants being smaller 
than most of those in America, whatever you may recently 
have heard to the contrary. 

It is, however, the hope of all those who earn their 
living in the industry here that the new Quota laws will 
encourage production activity and the capital that will 
make this possible. I hope that the presence here of two 
American companies, M.G.M. and 20th Century Fox, is 
evidence of such activity and that any difficulties they 
may have met with in their first pictures will not dis- 
courage them from further production. From the point 
of view of those of us who have been privileged to work 
with our American colleagues on these productions, we 
xre grateful for all they have been able to teach us. 

Most of the countries on the continent of Europe 
boast a film industry, and, before the present political 
regime, that of Germany was highly organised and very 
well equipped, due no doubt to the large number of 
German and part German-speaking countries on the con- 
tinent. During the more or less casual visits I have paid 
to continental studios I have always gained the impres- 
sion that their art departments are less highly organised 
than those of England or America, a more bohemian spirit 
pervading them than the "architect's office atmosphere" 
which distinguishes those of the English-speaking coun- 
tries. The contrast in the mentality of the continental art 
director seems to be extraordinary ; on the one hand he 
will produce working drawings for presentation to the con- 
struction departments on the backs of soiled envelopes, 
and on the other he has a definite flair for correctness 
of historical atmosphere and detail far in advance of Eng- 
land and America. 



May-June, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



'J 



A iree and easy way of carrying on, though some- 
times conducive to a product of pictorially artistic merit 
if in the right hands, is often responsible for an adverse 
balance sheet. This balance sheet is, however, of the 
greatest interest to American art directors and of grow- 
ing interest to us in England, and I must say rightly so, 
for one must remember that the film industry is first 
and foremost a commercial concern endeavouring to pay 
dividends to its shareholders, and secondly an art. To 
illustrate the importance attached to the commercial angle 
in American studios, whilst on a visit to Hollywood some 
two yQars ago I mentioned to Hans Dreier, the chief art 
director to Paramount, a certain picture of theirs I had 
seen and greatly admired just before leaving England. 
All discussion on this subject was immediately dismissed 
with "We will not discuss that picture — we went 7,000 
dollars over estimate in this department." I think that 
many of you will agree with me when I say that some 
of the best set American pictures are from the Paramount 
organisation, and any of you who picture the man respon- 
sible with a beard and highly coloured shirt will be sur- 
prised to hear that he started life in the cavalry of the 
Prussian Guard. 

Reputable producing companies would nowadays 
never consider the preparation of a film without consult- 
ing the art director assigned to the picture at least some 
weeks before actual turning began. This however has not 
always been the case. Not so many years ago the 
director would write two stories overnight and produce 
one before and one after lunch. Many of these would be 
Westerns or outdoor subjects requiring only one interior 
set such as a log cabin which could be used in both pic- 
tures. This set would have to be erected on a turntable 
in the open air so that it might follow the sun in his 
journey across the sky. No artificial lighting had been 
used tor the cinema at that time. (Perhaps the weather 
was better in those days). As the log cabin was painted 
on canvas, a windy day did not help the realism of the 
setting. Even during a later stage in the development of 
the industry when large greenhouses were being used as 
studios, with artificial light to help bolster up our too 
uncertain sun, the sets were still designed by scene 
painters and executed on canvas with door handles painted 
on the doors and a humble nail conveniently driven in the 
middle by which it was dragged open as required. At this 
time pictures were painted on the wall together with 
other props not required lor action such as chairs and 
tables, and even on occasion extra talent in the form of 
the butler holding a tray. 

Various other stages in development occurred before 
the more complicated organisation of the modern art 
department was evolved ; for instance, when sets in relief 
began to be constructed in timber the master carpenter 
was to a large extent relied upon to shuffle the stock 
panelled-room set into as many rooms as the picture in 
production might require. The times of which I am 
speaking are of course before the War, when England 
was the chief producing country of the world and a 
Western shot in Surrey would receive nothing but praise 
when shown in New York. I myself can remember the 
time, nine years ago, when property men provided all 
the plasterwork necessary for the most ambitious sub- 
jects produced in this country. Now the unions would 
very soon put paid to anything of that sort. 

Nowadays we have art departments working and 
organised on the lines of an architect's office, numbering 



among their permanent staff architectural draughtsmen, 
quantity surveyors, sculptors and painters, and including 
a comprehensive reference and periodical library, an archi- 
tectural model-making department and printing plant. 
The probable introduction in the near future of colour 
and stereoscopy will no doubt add to the number of 
experts and incidentally to the worries of the art director 
and the nmeraman. It is, however, my opinion thai 
when colour is firmly established it will be found 
principally in the costumes of the artistes and very 
sparingly used in the background. This opinion will be 
found to be amply justified by those of you who have 
seen "A Star is Born", the first picture shot in 
Teclmicolour not to rely on outdoor spectacular scenes 
to put it across. It is still unusual, in this country at 
any rate, for the art director or the cameraman to be 
consulted on the design and colour of the costumes to be 
worn in the sets. I have found in my short experience 
with colour that this omission in organisation must he 
repaired, or the results can be disastrous. 

The composition of the modern art department 
consist firstly of the supervising art director who is 
responsible for its organisation, discipline and the 
direction of policy. In the ordinary course of events, 
depending upon the size of the company employing him 
and the importance of the subject being made, he will 
not personally art direct individual films ; this work will 
be carried out by the unit art director under his super- 
vision. Each unit art director has his personal 
assistant who, with the help of one or more draughtsmen, 
depending upon the urgency of the subject, is responsible 
for the production of working drawings from the unit art 
director's sketches. The various shops, sculptors and 
decorative artists are also supplied with full-size details 
from this source. 

The floor manager is responsible under the super- 
vising art director for contact between the art department 
and the various construction shops, such as those of the 
carpenters, plasterers, painters etc., and also for a most 
important duty, that of placing each set upon the stage in 
such a way that the progress of the production unit from 
one set to another max not he delayed l>\ what they have 
already shot being in the way, or preventing the erection of 
future sets to a schedule that has been worked out some 
weeks in advance. Great care must also be taken in making 
these arrangements that sufficient room is allowed around 
each set for the cameraman to place his lighting to the 
best advantage. 

This very necessary piece of organisation is carried 
out in the following way. Plans of the various stages 
and lots are drawn on wall board or other suitable 
material, tracings of working drawings for each set are 
made on detail paper and pinned over these plan boards 
in the position they are to take in the studio. When the 
time comes lor the set to be struck, its plan is removed 
from the board and a new set placed upon its site. It 
will be readily seen that studio space available and 
general progress on the stages can be gauged at a glance 
in this way. 

The art director's duties should begin directly the 
adaption for the screen of the selected subject is begun. 
It has always been my experience that much money can 
be saved and fewer hearts broken in the long run, if the 
practical possibilities in reference to what can and what 



10 



THE CIKE-TEGHN1CIA N 



May-June, 1938 



cannot be erected within the shooting schedule, the 
amount of stage space available, and the financial budget 
are discussed between the script writer, the director and 
the art director before the script is finally written. How- 
ever, 1 am sorry to say that even in the best of families 
(his Utopian state of affairs is seldom achieved. 

Upon the art director receiving his script the 
procedure must vary according to the organisation of liis 
department, but will be roughly that the supervising art 
director, if not personally designing the film. will, after 
preliminary discussions with the producer, hand bhe script 
to a unit art director who will read it through with the 
director; meanwhile making marginal notes and rough 
sketch plans of the action and particular requirements of 
the director regarding special action, and at the same 
time discussing fully the characters in the story, in order 
that they may eventually seem to inhabit naturally the 
surroundings the art director will create for them. He 
will then produce a series of csquisses to show to the 
director as a guide to the layout and atmosphere h ■ 
proposes. The number of sketches prepared will var\ 
with the type of picture in preparation, from one for each 
set for the ordinary programme picture to one lor each 
master" scene in the carefully prepared super. The 
medium in which these sketches may be prepared extends 
to any known method of painting or draughtsmanship 
but the most economical for the quick and broad effects 
required by the art director is to my mind fusions 
comprimes on tracing paper which ma\ eventually be 
mounted on mil] hoard for more effective presentation 
and durability. 

The importance to the art director of selecting a 
medium most suitable for quickly presenting his ideas 
cannot be overlooked, for time is usually short in the 
preparation stage and it is heartbreaking to have 
laboriously produced sketches turned down wholesale b\ 
the director. I remember hearing quite a short w hile ago of 
a famous Continental art director, who has in his time 
been responsible for some of the most noteworthy 
romantic designs in the German cinema, being engaged 
by a large British producing company to art direct one of 
their pictures, who became so engrossed in his sketching 
that he was one day found busily engaged upon the sketch 
lor a set that the director was at that moment shooting 
on the stage — designed by another art director ! Too 
much concentration on sketches can do one a great deal 
of harm in the industry. Most art directors will find with 
fusions comprimes they can produce, if they are lucky 
and are not disturbed too much, four sketches a day. 

In the design and planning of film sets great care 
must be given to study of action and lighting. Sets must 
be designed so that the action in the script can be 
carried out smoothly and crisply, with as little waste of 
time in unnecessary action on the part of the artists as 
possible. The set designed must be so arranged that the 
cameraman has a chance to photograph the director's 
fast and snappy action. Breaks and columns should be 
provided behind which lamps may be concealed, and it 
should be remembered that these breaks and flat surfaces 
help to give a stereoscopic illusion. Up till quite 
recently ceilings were impossible impedimenta to camera- 
men, but lately their use is becoming more possible with 
the. introduction of better lamps and faster stock. How- 
ever, they arc still unpopular with the sound department. 



Usually the commercial art director will find himsell 
engaged upon one of two very different kinds of pictures, 
namely Drama or Comedy, and in each his functions are 
very different. In the former he must help the story by 
augmenting the action by his compositions in light and 
shade, and in the latter must provide a pleasantly 
inconspicuous background which will not distract the 
audience's attention from the actors in the foreground. 

Once the esquisse has been prepared and passed b\ 
the director, the art director, if himself an architect, will 
prepare rough quarter-inch scale plans and elevations of 
each set ; from these models are built, and estimates 
prepared by comparing them with the known cost of 
sets ot similar si/.e and decoration in previous pictures. 
Once these estimates have been set and passed by the 
production manager, the art director and his assistants 
must curb any desire to over-embroider by putting in 
extra detail whilst the drawings are in the final working- 
drawing state or in the shops. Of course, this estimating 
biiNiin-.-N. important as it i-. does not. as you maj well 
imagine, work out too easily. Sometimes there have 
been no sets of a similar nature on which to base one's 
estimate ; or if there are, the sets may have been built by 
the day shift at single-time, whereas the set on which one 
is now engaged will, owing to some hitch in the 
production schedule, be built at double-time on Sunday 
with pia3>:er and timber at an advanced rate. Again the 
director may be so pleased or. on the other hand, so 
upset with what you have finally provided, that his fertile 
imagination will invent all sorts of additional improve- 
ments. All of these contingencies must be met as they 
arrive and. if necessary, explained away when the inquest 
is held at the end of the picture. J have a system where- 
by each set has a card similar to those used in card- 
indexing on which each contingency is entered — these 
cards are known in the department as alibi cards and 
can be most edifying on occasions. Anyhow, when used 
in conjunction with the drawings ot the various sets to 
which they relate, a quick estimate of future sets is likely 
to be much more accurate than it would be without 
them. 

When an artist goes sketching, or a photographer 
photographing, he is generally fortunate in selecting 
subjects recognised by the local inhabitants as fair game 
for those foolish enough to indulge in such a pastime. 
The art director on his trips abroad is not always so 
fortunate in his selection of subjects, and the natives' 
suspicions as to his mental stability are confirmed when 
he stands photographing and measuring all the lamp 
standards, fire alarms and other more unmentionable 
articles of street furniture, which must all be accurately 
reproduced to create the correct atmosphere in continen- 
tal street scenes. I remember in a picture called "The 
Blue Danube" we had a scene where the road menders 
of Budapest were doing their best to emulate their 
London cousins. I packed my bags and about 48 hours 
later w as to be seen trailing round Budapest looking for 
a steam-roller and other signs of road work. I found 
them much more difficult to locate than one would in 
Louduii, and when at last 1 did, you tan imagine the 
surprise of the Hungarian navvy when without a word I 
stai-ted to measure those signs which indicated "You have 
been warned," "Road up," etc., and photograph their 
steam-roller as if it were some museum piece. Actually 
it was. I believe, a British Invicta, but I knew the director 
would never believe me if I failed to produce photographic 



May-June, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



1 I 



evidence on my return. The art director in his quest for 
accuracy will rind Government departments and other 
official bodies both in England and abroad only too willing 
to arrange for bini to visit places not usually accessible to 
the public, such as factories, dockyards and prisons. I once 
lunched in the Royal Yacht and spent an afternoon in a 
condemned cell in the same week ; I must say I preferred 
my lunch in the yacht. 

It is usual when about to produce films about one 
of the Services to solicit the sympathy and co-operation 
of the Service involved, after which a serving officer of 
the rank of Commander or Major is attached to the him 
unit as co-operation officer. His duties are to see that 
all the costumes and language used (I mean, of course, 
words of command) will pass muster with those who have 
Service experience. The duties of this officer can be any- 
thing but easy, for extraordinary to relate, after all the 
trouble the him company takes to secure his services his 
attempts to maintain accuracy are often scouted, and he 
finishes up unpopular in the studio and hardly daring to 
face his brother officers, responsible as he is in their 
eyes for what they consider the most glaring mistakes. 
I must say in self-defence that the greater number of 
these inaccuracies seem to occur in the costuming de- 
partment. So far, thank goodness, I have always finished 
up on the best of terms with all the official advisors with 
whom I have come in contact. The art director is. how- 
ever, advantageously placed, for the naval commander 
will never tail to be intrigued when he walks on to a 
cruiser's bridge reproduced in the studio, and finds the 
voice pipes cast in plaster with their tubes made of fire 
hose filled with wet sand to stiffen them, instead of the 
regulation flexible copper tube. About two years ago 
we were working on "The Fighting Navy," in which 
we had to build the bridge of a "C" class cruiser. These 
bridges have on them two 12 foot Barr and Stroud range- 
finders, and although we were fortunate in borrowing the 
bases, which weigh about half a ton each, from Chatham, 
T was not anxious to have the actual arms owing to their 
great delicacy and consequent liability to damage. As 
an economic experiment, therefore, 1 constructed them of 
cardboard tubes instead of wooden poles (called tumblers) 
which was our usual practice. When we came to shoot 
the set. the tubes gradually began to bend like wax 
candles and had to be held to the roof of the studio by 
piano wire, which, was, of course, invisible to the camera. 
It gave the greatest pleasure to our co-operation officer 
and seemed to compensate in some way for his many other 
annoyances, such as trying to make a squad of crowd 
artistes perform as though they had spent a lifetime at 
sea. 

After the art director has designed his set and safely 
shepherded it through the various shops and had it 
erected on the stage, he must furnish it. for although 
every studio has its property room, which may or may 
not be the marvel of resource you have all read about, it 
will not. however well it may be equipped and looked 
after, be able to provide everything he wants even for 
the most ordinary set. It is in set dressing that the 
European art director undoubtedly has it over his opposite 
number in Hollywood. Although their property rooms 
and research laboratories are undoubtedly better than 
ours, they have not the resources of a capital city within 
three-quarters of an hour's drive of the studio. I remem- 
ber hearing a story of a director, Von Stroheim, a stickler 
tor detail when dealing with his native Austria. A scene 
required an Austrian state coach. The studio prop room 



Day and Night at 
49 Greek St., W.1 



When you want a Newmcn Sinclair Cine Camera come to Shaw Jones 



Day and Night at 
Gerrard 6716 



I:' 



T H E C 1 N E-T ECHMC1AN 



Mas-June, L986 



in conjunction vvitli the research department instructed 
their agents in Vienna to measure one up and send blue 
prints to Hollywood, from which an exact replica was 
made. When Von Stroheim found this out he was in- 
furiated and demanded the original. What is more, pro- 
duction was suspended for six weeks until it arrived. 

( )f course the art director does not chooser every 
article of furniture for the set himself, for if he is engaged 
mi an important production he will have very little time 
to leave the studio at all. A special man called a set 
dresser is responsible for visiting the hundred and one 
shops and stores from which everything from an 
eighteenth century stage-coach to a silver photograph 
frame are hired. The set dresser must be of educated 
taste it the art director's set is not to be spoilt and ol 
infinite resource it all his wants and those of the director 
are to be n.et on time. For my own part 1 have always 
tried to find time to select most ol the furniture for each 
principal set myself, hut this is becoming increasingly 
difficult, especially since my company has moved from 
Elstree further from town, (letting the right kind of fur- 
niture through a set dresser should, ot course, not be 
difficult, as the type of furniture required should be 
indicated in the ait director's sketches. 

A popular aspect of films, especially to those not 
actually engaged in him production, is trick work. It is, 
however, outside the scope of this article, for the art 
director's work seldom brings him in contact with it. He 
is more concerned with, for instance, suitable backings 
ior windows. In the old days these were painted on canvas 
with varying degrees of skill in exactly the same way as 
those used in the theatre. A more modern method and 
one calculated to give a greater illusion of reality is the 
photographic backing. Here one selects a photograph of 
■i suitable subject for the view through the windows in 
the set, and a gigantic enlargement is then made and 
mounted on ply or other suitable material and suspended 
behind the window openings. When re-photographed 
with the motion picture camera only the practised eye 
can detec t the. deceit. A.T.P. made a photographic back- 
ing 150 feet long and 25 feet high for their production 
of "Autumn Crocus." This was enlarged from a negative 
exposed in a Leica camera. From the historical point of 
view I think 1 am correct in saying that I was responsible 
for using the first photographic backing in England, for 
the B. & P. production of "Carnival" in 1931. 

This photographic backing method is not always 
adequat?- For instance, should one's setting depict a rail- 
way station waiting-room, a photograph behind the win- 
dows of stationary engine with stationary steam and 
stationary porters and passengers will not do. We must 
resort tn a more advanced form of backing known as "back 
projection." First of all a camera-man shoots a scene at 
i railway station with a motion picture camera. This 
-ccne is then projected irom behind upon an opaque screen 
(■1 frosted <;Iass or other suitable material which is placed 
outside the waiting-room windows. One has then an 
animated backing which is impossible for the non- 
technical audience to detect. Of course the camera 
photographing the scene iii the studio and the projector 
must have their shutters very carefully synchronised to 
insure a result. 

Prom time to time the art director is brought into 
touch with other aspects of trick work, such as the use of 
building in perspective' and the various devices for top- 
ping up sets. Perspective work is used in the background 
of sets and behind windows where there is no action 



required, the idea being to compress into a lew feet ol 
studio space by means of perspective building what in 
real lile might take up many yards or even miles. Some- 
times when action will give reality to this perspective 
work children or even dwarfs are used to give the necessary 
movement. 

There are many devices in use tor topping up sets. 
The principle is however always the same, namely, 
enough set is built to cover the action required of the 
artistes, and the rest necessary to make up the picture 
is supplied by means of a painting, a model, or a photo- 
graph ; the trick being so to join it to the reality that 
it will be impossible to detect the junction in the finished 
picture. The most primitive of this type of work is the 
glass shot, where a large sheet of optical plate glass is 
placed 15 feet or so in front of the camera and between 
it and the set. That portion of the set which on looking 
through the camera appears above the actors' heads, is 
painted on the glass, the bottom part being left clear so 
that the built portion of the set and the artistes may be 
seen through it. This, you will readily see, saves a great 
deal of building. A method similar to the glass shot, but 
much more difficult to detect when well executed, is the 
foreground model, where a model of the upper portion 
of the set is hung in front of the camera in such a way 
as to join on to the reality in the background. Yet 
another method of saving money in this way is the back- 
ground model, where instead of the model being between 
the camera and the reality it is built behind the reality. 
This has the advantage ot allowing the artistes' heads to 
appear above the real portion of set built, and in front of 
the model. In the foreground model and glass shot it is 
obvious that should this happen, the artiste's head would 
suddenly disappear behind the painting or model. The 
Schufftan process is an ingenious arrangement whereby 
a mirror is placed at an angle just in front of the camera. 
To one side the model is built so as to reflect in the 
mirror, a portion of which is then scraped away to re- 
veal the set behind. This invention has two great ad- 
vantages over other methods, namely, not only models 
but also paintings or photographs can be reflected in the 
mirror, and owing to the scraping of the mirror such a 
soft join between model and reality is made that this 
join can be on a flat surface, whereas in the other methods 
I have described a conveniently placed architectural fea- 
ture, such as a cornice, must be provided at which the 
join must occur. 

There is one other method whereby the joining is 
effected weeks or even months after the action has been 
photographed ; this is known as the mat shot. Here again 
enough set is constructed to cover the action — no more — 
and the camera set up shooting right over the top of 
the set, showing the lamps and roof of the studio if 
necessary. A black mat is now either painted on glass 
or cut out in cardboard and suspended in front of the 
camera so as to prevent the lights from shining into the 
lens. The scene is now shot, a small piece of extra film 
being exposed for test purposes. Afterwards an artist 
paints a picture of what should occur in the portion matted 
out and thiq is eventually re-photographed on to the 
matted portion in the laboratory. One objection to this 
method is that the shape of film will change, 
infinitesimally of course, with variations in temperature. 
Should such a change occur whilst the film is being kept 
for the painting to be made the result may be that whilst 
the bottom half of the picture will look quite steady on 
(Continued on page 131 



May-June. 1988 



THE CINE-TEC E X 1 C I A i\ 



13 



A YEAR OLDER 

Fifth A.C.T. Annual Report & General Meeting 



THE Fifth Annual Report of The Association of Cine- 
Technicians will be presented to members at the 
Annual General Meeting on Sunday, May 8th, at 
Anderton's Hotel, Fleet Street, E.C.4 The 
Association's President, The Hon. Anthony Asquith, will 
be in the chair and the proceedings will commence at 
2.30 p.m. The meeting will also be addressed by the 
President of the Trades Union Congress, Mr. Herbert H. 
Elvin, who incidentally is the father of our own General 
Secretary. 

The report shows continued progress. Membership 
is now 1,289, an advance of 167 on the previous year's 
figures. A further increase of nearly 200 members since 
the close of the year will also be reported to the meeting. 

Recent events in the film industry occupy a pro- 
minent place in the report. Towards the end of the year 
80% of the 10,000 persons normally engaged in film pro- 
duction were unemployed. A.C.T. during the past year 
has consequently been greatly concerned to ensure that 
this position of the industry was not used as a pretext to 
depress conditions. The vigilance of the Association dur- 
ing this period has ensured the minimum of retrenchment 
during the worst year the British film industry has ever 
experienced. In some cases cuts which were enforced 
have been restored following representations by the 
Association. In other cases legal advice has been given 
to employees asked to accept modifications of individual 
contracts. Successful approach has been made to certain 
companies to obtain payment for Sunday work and to 
abolish the employment of beginners at little or no salary. 

STUDIO AND LABORATORY AGREEMENTS 

The agreement with the Gaumont-British Picture 



THE ART DIRECTOR IN MOTION 
PICTURES 

(Continued from page 12) 
the screen the top portion will appear to be dancing 
about. 

In describing these various methods in use for 
economy of construction, I have assumed that the set 
requires to be built up or perhaps have a ceiling put on : 
there is no reason why the same methods should not be 
employed to build below the action. For instance. Casa- 
nova in his escape from the leads in Venice may be 
required to leap along a parapet in uncertain light with 
a sheer drop of 150 feet into the Grand Canal. Actually 
he will do this on a parapet built 2 feet from the studio 
floor and one of the methods I have described will be 
used to add the necessary depth without danger to the 
actor. I cast no doubts upon the ability of the Casanovas 
of the screen to emulate the original in this feat, but their 
necks are too valuable to the film companies that employ 
them to risk a slip — and moreover the set costs much less 
built in the way I have described. 

TITLE 

CARDS 

ART 

BACKGROUNDS 

SCREEN 
TRAILERS 



Corporation Ltd. has continued to operate satisfactorily 
and subsidiary clauses have been negotiated in order to 
extend its application to all studio grades covered by 
A.C.T. After the closing down of the Lime Grove Studios 
the agreement continued to function in respect of the 
(LB. Unit employed at Pinewood Studios. 

Negotiation of agreements with other studios, 
although in some cases commenced, has been delayed 
owing to the crisis in the industry. 

Details are given of the threatened withdrawal of 
labour in the laboratories and the negotiations which were 
subsequently commenced. 

The agreements with Associated Kealist Film Pro- 
ducers Ltd. and Strand Films Ltd. continue to operate 
satisfactorily and representations have been made along 
similar lines to the Post Office and A.T.P. Studios Ltd. 
in respect of technicians employed at the G.P.O. Film 
Unit. 

EMPLOYMENT BUREAU 

The year's activities of the A.C.T. Employment 

Bureau are reported. 116 companies used the bureau 
and 791 technicians were contacted. 

KINDRED ORGANISATIONS 

Contacts were maintained or initiated with kindred 
organisations, including the National Association of 
Theatrical and Kine Employees, the Electrical Trades 
Union, technicians' organisations in the United States 
of America, France, India and the U.S.S.R. Conferences 
attended by A.C.T. representatives included the Inter- . 
national Newsreel Federation, the Trades Union Congress, 
the annual conference of the National Federation of Pro- 
fessional Workers, a special conference of the Film 
Artistes' Association, and the annual conference of the 
K.A.T.K.E. 

TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES 

Contact has been maintained with the Royal Photo 
graphic Society, and Mr. T. S. Lyndon-Haynes,*A.R.P.S.. 
an A.C.T. General Member, was co-opted on to its Kine 
Committee. Joint meetings have been held to discuss the 
question of screen credits. Mr. L. P. Williams lectured 
on "The Art Director in Motion Pictures" (reported else- 
where in this issue) in connection with the annual exhibi 
tion of the Society. 

AFFILIATIONS 

Affiliation has been made to the Trades Union Con- 
gress, the Labour Research Department, and affiliation re- 
newed to the National Trade Union Club and the Federa- 
tion of Cinematograph Societies. 

OTHER MATTERS 

Many other matters are covered by the report, in- 
cluding the problem of foreign technicians, the Film 
Industry Employees' Council, Films Bill activities, the 
Factories Act, evidence given before the Government's 
Commission on Holidays with Pay. and legal activities. 



Title 
Service 



Please note new address • 
26-27 D'Arblay St., W.1 

Phone: Ger. 6476 



1 1 



THE CINE - TECHNIC! A N 



Ma} -June. 193& 



Academy Technical 
Awards 

The following are amongst the annual technical 
awards recently announced by the Academy of Motion 
Picture Arts and Sciences for 1937. 

AWARD IN CLASS I. (Academy 
Statuette and Plaque): 

To: The Agfa Anseo Corporation for then- Agfa 
supreme and Agfa ultra speed pan motion 
picture negatives. 
The Agfa Ansca Corporation, in making available to 
the motion picture industry these two new panchromatic 
films has provided the production cameramen with a 
means bl reducing working lens and aperatures, resulting 
in increased definition, and lias provided a tool to obtain, 
under adverse conditions. high quality photographic re- 
sults heretofore impossible. 

In addition, the use of this film increases the 
latitude, the realism, and scope <i| process projection 
work. 

The development of these two films represents ;i 
major achievement in research and emulsion manufac- 
ture, reversing what has long been considered an axiom 
by manufacturers and users of him stock, namely, that an 
increase in speed is always associated with increased 
grain size. 

These two new panchromatic films retain to the lull 
extent the qualities of panchromatic emulsions and at the 
same time provide a much higher speed while maintaining 
former grain quality. 

Thus, the Agfa Ansco Corporation has provided the 
motion picture industry with a product which increases 
the photographic quality of production and tends to lower 
lighting costs. 

AWARDS IN CLASS II (Plaque): 

To: Walt Disney Productions Ltd.. for the 
design and its application to production of 
their Multi-Plane Camera. 
The multi-plane camera is a development of the 
Walt Disney Studios which has greatly improved the 
photographic quality and illusion of depth in colour car- 
toons, simplified process work, and is believed to be 
capable nf extension to process and transparency back- 
ground problems normally encountered in studio 
production. 

To: The Eastman Kodak Company lor two tine- 
grain duplicating film stocks. 

ft has been recognised that duplicating films 01 
sufficiently improved characteristics are of value in 
protecting against loss through damage to the original 
negative, as well as for making additional complete 
copies of the negative from which release prints may be 
made, and lor use in optical printing. 

In these two duplicating emulsions, the Eastman 
Kodak Company has made available duplicating stock 
which is an improvement over any previously available, 
permitting duplication quality very closely approaching 
that of the original and at the same time markedly 
reducing the effects of grain size formerly found to an 
objectionable degree in such duplicating films. 



To : Farciot Edouard and Paramount Pictures 
Inc., for their development of the Paramount 
Dual Screen Transparency Camera Bet-Up. 

The Paramount Dual Screen Transparency Camera 

Set-l'p consists of two synchronised photographic 
cameras driven by a single motor, mounted side by side 
in such a manner that adjacent edges ot the two fields of 
view are coincident regardless ot distance (from the 
camera to infinity), permitting (dose screen action and 
a screen area ot twice the width of the normal camera 
set-up. 

This unit, by providing transparency backgrounds of 
twice the area ot a single screen, has increased the scope 
of process background photography and proved oi definite 
economic value in motion picture production. It photo- 
graphs, with absolute synchronism, action taking place 
across the two screen areas, regardless ot distance from 

the camera, thus permitting a perspective and panoramic 
effect not otherwise possible in greatly enlarged projected 
pictures. 

To: Douglas Shearer and the Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer Sound Department lor a method ol 
varying the scanning width of variable 
density sound tracks (Squeeze Tracks) for 
the purpose of obtaining an increased 
amount of noise reduction. 
The application of "squeeze" to variable density 
recordings affords an increased amount ot noise reduction 
over that available with other current methods, resulting 
in greater reproduced volume range in the theatre. 

With this method, the scanning width ot the 
variable density sound track is reduced during periods ot 
normal low modulation and accompanied by a correspond- 
ing increase in the percentage of modulation, often 
resulting in the recording of a truer wave form. 

The use of this method leads to an increased volume 
range in the theatre, lending an added colour and natural- 
ness to certain tvpes of productions. 
AWARDS IN CLASS III (Honourable Mention in the 
Report of the Board of Judges): 

To: John Arnold and the Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer Camera Department for their 
improvements of the semi-automatic fol- 
low focus device and its application to all 
of the cameras used by the Metro-Goldwyn- 
Mayer Studios. 
This device facilitates camera operation by correlat- 
ing the focusing of the shooting lens and finder lens and 
simultaneously correcting for parallax, with such 
precision that the position and sharpness of focus in the 
finder may be relied upon to indicate corresponding 
properties of the photographic image, thereby materially 
increasing the speed and accuracy of production photo- 
graphy, particularly in follow focus shots. 

To : John Livadary, Director of Sound Record- 
ing for Columbia Pictures Corporation, for 
the application of the Bi-Planar Light 
Valve to motion picture sound recording. 
The bi-planar light valve eliminates a serious form 
of electro-mechanical distortion caused by the striking 
together of the valve ribbons during the recording of high- 
amplitude modulations. 

To : Thomas T. Moulton and the Cnited Artists 
Sound Department for the application to 
motion picture sound recording of volume 
indicators which have peak reading response 
and linear decibel scales. 
{Continued on page i8) 



.May- June, 193b 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



15 




TEN years of what'.' W ill the thousands of unem- 
ployed film workers get their jobs back; will they, 
if they do, be assured of fairly regular employment : 
will they get a fair week's pay for a fair week's 
work; will the "quickie" be well and truly buried? These 
are some of the questions technicians want answered. A 
partial answer can be ascertained from a study of the 
Cinematograph Films Act, 1938. The rest of the answer 
lies with those who can direqt finance into the industry. 
Their action will be largely determined by the attitude 
and competence of producers. If the industry continues 
to throw millions of pounds down the drain, if it continues 
to be a happy hunting ground for adventurers, then the 
outlook for a real British Industry is indeed black. 
Because the future of our industry is not in the films 
which foreign companies are forced to make for quota 
purposes (although they provide an excellent basis) but 
in the films made by independent producers. A strict 
compliance with the quota provisions — and the making of 
no more films than are actually necessary to satisfy quota 
— will at the most mean the fairly regular use of only 
one quarter of our studio space. Ten years ago we had 
not more than twenty stages, many of them primitive. 
The output of films in 1927 was thirty. In 1936 pro- 
duction had increased to 220 long and 200 short 
films. To-day we have 25 studios with 80 stages 
capable of producing 500 films per annum. The 
first year's quota requires only a fifth of that 
number. What of the balance? Will we still have 
champagne luncheons to announce bankruptcy, as hap- 
pened in one memorable case, or will the industry be 
managed on sane, reasonable lines? Because while the 
1938 Act is an improvement in many respects on its 
predecessor, the defeat of the Separation of Quota 
proposals makes the fundamental basis of the Act un- 
sound. While compelling foreign companies to make or 
acquire films made in this country it does very little to 
encourage the independent British producer. The 



separation of renters from exhibitors' quota would have 
done this. It is further to he regretted that the Govern- 
ment has ignored the recommendation of Lord Moyne's 
Committee to encourage financial interests to constitute 
one or more organisations to finance British film produc- 
tion, in approved cases, on reasonable terms. 

A.C.T. and the other unions issued their views on 
the White Paper shortly after its publication and have 
since pursued a steady policy along the main terms of 
that document. Most of the improvements in the new 
Act are in accord with these views. Memoranda and 
press statements were issued almost daily ; a thousand 
technicians and workers packed a mass meeting at Vic- 
toria Palace, addressed by the secretaries of the six 
employees organisations, Lord Strabolgi, and Mr. George 
Hicks. M.P., representing the Trades Union Congress 
General Council ; the public galleries of the Parliamentary 
Committee were crowded by unemployed technicians, and 
attention was drawn to the presence of our members which 
indicated that all was far from well in the industry; two 
thousand film workers mass-lobbied members of the House 
of Commons on the Report Stage ; innumerable meetings 
and conferences took place, and Parliamentary groups 
were addressed by the general secretaries of A.C.T. and 
the N.A.T.K.E. ; repeated representations were made to 
the Board of Trade; thousands of letters and circulars 
were sent out from the Wardour Street offices of the Film 
Industry Employees' Council ; close contact and meet- 
ings took place with the Trades Union Congress General 
Council ; consultations were held with the Film Producers 
Croup of the Federation of British Industries; and there 
were innumerable private approaches and conversations 
with members of the House of Lords and House of Com- 
mons. The amendments to the Bill during its passage 
through Parliament reflect the success of this intensive 
campaign. 



in 



T H E CINE - T E C H N I C I A N 



Ma \ -June 1931- 



PRINCIPLE OF ACT 

rin- general principle of the act is the same 
as that of its predecessor, nanich that a certain 
proportion of the total footage of film rented 
and exhibited must he British. The number oJ 
ipiota fiinis made. and consequently the amount 
of work available tor British technicians, is en- 
tirely dependent upon the total ot foreign films the 
renter chooses to import. The pursuance of the single- 
feature programme policy, for example, would reduce 
the number of foreign films imported, and the number of 
British films required would automatically be reduced. 

WE MAKE HISTORY 

We made history when an alteration was made in 
the long title of the Hill in order to enable it to make 
provisions as to the wages and working conditions of 
employees. This is the first time such an alteration has 
been made. The Fair Wages Clause, with which I will 
deal later, was ruled out of order by the Chairman of the 
Standing Committee, upon the advice o| the Speaker, as 
it did not come within the provisions of the long title of 
the Bill. Therefore, at a later stai;e. following discus- 
sions with the hoard of Trade, the clause was re-intro- 
duced, together with an amendment to the long title. 



QUOTA SCHEDULES 

The new act stipulates quota for short as well as 
long films, except for newsreels and certain advertising 
and educational films. 

The following are the rates : the figures in brackets 
are the corresponding rates for the equivalent year in the 
first Act. 

Renters' Quota 
[Commencing April ist of each year) 
Long Films Short Films 



1938 


15 per cent 


(7*%) 
(10%) 


15 per cent 


1939 


20 


15 


1940 


224 


(10%) 


171 •• 


1941 


221 


(12*%) 


174 „ 


1942 


25 


(15%) 


20 


1943 


25 


(17*%) 


20 


1944 


m •• 


(171%) 


221 .. 


194") 


274 .. 


(20%) 


224 ,. 


1940 


30 


(20%) 


25 


1947 


30 


(20%) 


25 



Exhibitors' Quota 
{Commencing October ist of each year) 

Long Films Short Films 



193K 


12$ per cent 


(5%) 


121 P er cent 


1939 


15 


(74%) 


124 •■ 


1940 


174 


(74%) 


15 


1941 


17$ 


ao%) 


15 


1942 


20 


(121%) 


174 . 


1913 


20 


(15%) 


174 


1944 


224 


(15%) 


20 


1945 


221 


(20%) 


20 


1946 


25 


(20%) 


224 


1947 


25 


(20%) 


224 



In spite of amendments during the passage of the 
Hill through Parliament, the rates are still much too low 
The Moyne Report visualised a quota rising up to 50%. 
Yet it is not even brought up to the 1937 level until 1942 
— four years hence, when Exhibitors' quota is 20%. 
Whereas, under the first Act, Renters' quota was the 
measure of production, under the new Act it is 
Exhibitors' Quota. Renters' quota may be satisfied in 
the following five ways :— 

(a) Single quota films with a minimum £7,500 
labour costs. 

(b) Double quota films with a minimum of £22,500 
labour costs. 

I'M Treble quota films wth a minimum of £87,500 
labour costs. 

(«£) Purchase of the foreign rights of a double quota 
film for £20,000 counting tor single quota. 

(e) Purchase of the foreign rights of a treble quota 
film for £30,000 counting for double quota. 

it advantage is taken of one or more of the last lour 
ways, then the renter must acquire actual footage to the 
extent of at least half the iootage required if his quota 
obligations were assessed on a single quota basis. For 
exhibitors' quota, films only count at their registered 
length. Therefore, the footage held by a renter will be 
insufficient to meet exhibitors' quota — and, to make up 
the balance, films will have to be made for exhibitors' 
quota. Take the present year as an example. Assuming 
there are six hundred long films registered, and assuming 
again, for example's sake, that the films are all exactly 
the same length, then 15% of these films, i.e. 90 (in 
practice, of course, the actual quota is measured in 
footage) have to be British for renters' quota. But the 
Act only compels renters to acquire half that number if 
full advantage is taken of double and treble quota. There- 
tore, the renters make or acquire, or purchase foreign 
rights, of films equivalent to the footage of 45 films. But 
exhibitors' quota, for which there is no double or treble 
quota, is 124% — that is, 75 films. Therefore 30 films 
(that is 75 less 45) will have to be made for exhibitors' 
quota only, for which type of film there is no minimum 
cost. Does this portend a new evil ? An exhibitors' 
"quickie." 1 hope not, but the possibility does exist. 

The quota rates may be revised within the maximum 
and minimum limits of the Act after one. three and or 
five years. 

Quota for short films is on a straight footage basis 
and there is no minimum cost. 

DEFINITION OF A BRITISH FILM 

The definition of a British film is broadly the same 
as in the last Act. There are, however, certain improve- 
ments. A British film for renters' quota must be made 
in a studio within the United Kingdom (the 1927 Aei 
stipulated the British Empire) with the exception of 10° f , 
ot the total length of the film or 20% of the studio scenes 
(whichever is less). 

The minimum amount of the labour costs that has 
to be paid to British subjects is 75% of the total labour 
costs after deducting the amount paid or payable to one 
foreign person (as in the old Act), or (in the case of double 
or treble quota films) 80% of the total labour costs 
excluding two foreign persons, one of whom must be an 
actor or actress. 



May-June. 1988 



T H E C INE-TE C ENICIA N 



17 



THE FILMS COUNCIL 

A Cinematograph Films Council is to be set up with 
iunctions to review the progress ot the industry, to advise 
the Board of Trade and to submit an annual report to 
Parliament. The Council is composed of 11 independent 
persons, 2 producers, 2 renters. 4 exhibitors and 2 
representatives of employees. 

No person convicted under the 1927 Quota Act or the 
present Act can serve on the Council. 

Lord Templemore gave an assurance on behalf of the 
Government in the House of Lords, that one of the early 
activities of the Films Council would be to consider the 
possibility of establishing an apprenticeship scheme on 
the technical side of film production in all its branches. 

FAIR WAGES CLAUSE 

The Fair Wages Clause provides that makers am' 
processors of films (all quota films: long and short, 
renters' or exhibitors' quota, with or without minimum 
cost provision) must pay wages and provide conditions of 
employment not less favourable than those which would 
be required for the fulfilment of a Government contract. 
The Government Fair Wages Resolution stipulates that 
the employer shall pay rates of wages and observe working 
conditions not less favourable than those commonly 
recognised by trade unon agreement, or in the absence 
of such agreement, such recognised wages and conditions 
as prevail amongst good employers. 

OTHER POINTS 

The Board of Trade has power to disallow certain 
labour costs if satisfied they are not genuine. Further, 
a person shall not be taken to be directly engaged in the 
making of a film by reason only that he is financially 
interested in the making of the film, or is employed in 
an administrative or clerical capacity, or supplies goods 
used in the making of a film or is in the employ of a 
person who supplies such goods. While such a clause is 
welcomed, it has obvious loopholes. The "foreign super- 
viser" may soon become a major problem rather than 
the "foreign technician." 

Penalties for breaking the Act have been increased 
and a renter or exhibitor may be deprived of his licence 
after three convictions. Where a company is guilty of an 
offence, proceedings may also be taken against any direc- 
tor, manager, secretary or other officer who consented to 
or connived at the offence, or whose neglect attributed to 
it. 

Only films shown during normal hours in normal 
programmes can count for exhibitors' quota, and films 
lour years or more old are barred from quota. 

Quota does not have to be provided against foreign 
films of a special nature (such as shown to Film Societies) 
provided they are not shown at more than 12 theatres, 
including not more than six in London, and at not more 
than one theatre in Great Britain on any one day. 



THE CAMPAIGN OF THE UNIONS 

A.C.T. and the other trade unions had the following 
major points in their quota campaign: — 

1 . Increased quota for long and short films ; 

2. Exclusion of certain costs from the Labour costs 
return. 

3. Increased penalties for non-compliance with the 
Act; 

4. Provision of Fair Wages Clause . 

5. Films Council to include employees' representa- 
tives ; 

6. Minimum cost of £2 per foot for quota films ; 

7. Restriction of the employment of foreign techni- 
nicians. 

8. The setting-up of some form of apprenticeship 
scheme within the industry. 

A later proposal which also had the strong and 
unanimous support of the unions was the separation of 
renters - from exhibitors quota. 

On tlie other hand, strong opposition was offered to 
the double and treble quota proposals, and the reciprocity 
clauses. 



OUR ACHIEVEMENTS 

There have been small, although admittedly in- 
sufficient, quota increases (exhibitors' quota for long films 
was raised and both renters' and exhibitors' short quotas 
were increased). Points 2, 3, 4, 5, above have been 
obtained in their entirety. So has point 6, although the 
Act measures cost on a labour cost unit of £1 per foot 
instead of a total cost unit of £2 per foot. 

On point 7, we were not so successful, the only slight 
concession being in the possible increase of 75% to 
80% British labour on double and treble quota films. 

On point 8 we received an assurance from the 
Government that the matter would be considered b\ the 
Films Council. 

We did not succeed in defeating the double and treble 
quota proposals, or the reciprocity provisions, but modi- 
fications make them much less unsatisfactory 

We can. therefore, justifiably congratulate ourselves. 
At the same time, however, we must remember that the 
inadequacy ot the quota rates will not mean as much 
production as during the past tew years and there is 
little likelihood of all the 8,000 unemployed being re- 
absorbed into the industry. 75 long films need only he 
made (luring 1938 as against the 150 which were required 
for quota in 1936 and 1037. Therefore, there will pro- 
bably be approximately half the amount of work. To off- 
set this, it should be remembered that the minimum cost 
clause should effectively kill the ten-day "quickie" (at 
least, as far as renters' quota is concerned) and employ- 
ment per picture should be proportionately longer. 
Further, the quota on short films should ensure a steady 
continuance of such productions. 



18 



THE CJNE-TECHNIC1AN 



May-June. 1938 



A NEGLECTED OPPORTUNITY 

it is. however, to be particularly regretted that the 
Government h;is let pass this greal opportunity to en- 
eourage independent British production. No industn 
c an be really effectively built up on foreign-financed and 
sponsored films. Mr. Oliver Stanley said in the House 
of Commons on November 4th, KKiT. "1 do not want our 
delenees to be made in Hollywood. I want the world to 
be able to see liritisli Films true to British life, accept- 
ing British standards, and spreading liritisli ideals." 
Does he really believe he has given British producers that 
chance'.' One of the most impressive speeches on the 
Films Hill was from the Lord Bishop of Winchester in 
the House of Lords * • t i the scemd reading: 

"I want to set' the cinema industn here, present 
British pictures of British scenery, giving an accurate 
account ol our history, showing something of the energy 
and enterprise of our people at the present time, and Bel 
ting forth Some of the ideals which have been character- 
istic of our nation. It is, I think, a most serious matter 
that at present 75 pel' cent, ol the time in cinemas is 
occupied with foreign films. Now if 75 per cent, of the 
press was owned b\ foreign companies we should un- 
doubtedly feel considerable anxiety, and if in 7~> per cent. 



of the schools of this country, the text books were those 
which had been produced abroad, and our children were 
taught by foreign teachers, we should feel that the 
position was quite intolerable; yet the cinema has a 
greater influence over many than the I'ress has. and over 
the young it has a greater influence than the schools." 
Yes. the Films Act has neglected a great opportunity 

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 

W hile, therefore, the Act has failed in its fundamen- 
tals, the great campaign of organised labour has permit- 
ted mam achievements and amendments which would 
otherwise have been outside the legislation. Tribute, 
further, it is due to the members of the six employees' 
organisations in the industry. At the same time, thanks 
is also due to Lord Ktrabolgi and Mr. Tom Williams, 
M.I'., in charge ol the Bill for the opposition in the 
House ol Lords and the House ot Commons, respectively, 

without whose indefatigable energy and excellent co- 
operation with the Unions the Pair Wage Clause, the 
employees on the Films Council provision, and other 
amendments directly affecting the workers in the industry, 
would never have reached the Statute Book. 

GEORGE H. ELVIN 



ACADEMY TECHI 

{Continued 

This type ol volume indicator portrays with greater 
accuracy the form factor of an electrical wave, and 
permits extension of the useable scale of volume indicat- 
ing instruments. 

To: The RCA Manufacturing Company Inc.. 
for the introduction of the modulated high- 
frequency method of determining optium 
photographic processing conditions for 
variable width sound tracks. 

This is the first available convenient quantitative 
method of establishing optimum processing conditions of 
variable width sound tracks. 

To: Joseph E. Bobbins and Paramount Pictures 
Inc., for their exceptional application of 
acoustic principles to the sound proofing of 
gasoline generators and water pumps. 
The. application of advanced engineering principles 
to the sound insulation of generators and other accessory 
equipment has made possible the operation of these 
units at high efficiency, at points relatively close to the 
microphone, without noise interference. 

To: Douglas Shearer and the Metro-Goldwyn- 
Maver Sound Department for the design of 
the film drive mechanism as incorporated in 
the FBP1 1010 Reproducer. 
This is an efficient means of obtaining a flutter-free 
film motion for use in studio recording and re-recording 
operations the design of which was completed at Metro- 
Cold wyn-Mayer Studios. . 

The distribution of Scientific or Technical Awards, 
oVer a seven-year term including the current recognitions. 



fICAL AWARDS 

limit f><7s,'C I | 
is as follows : 

N QMBEB OF AWARDS 



Year Class 1 Class 11 Class HI Total 

1930- 31 2 1 3 6 

1931- 32 1 1 2 

1932- 453 2 1 3 

1934 1 2 3 

1935 2 7 9 

1936 1 2 4 7 

1937 1 4 ti 11 



It will be noted that this year the total number of 
successful nominations is the highest since the inaugura- 
tion of this Award. 

□ □ 

DUFAYC0L0UR 

Dufay-Chromex have issued a comprehensive booklet 
on Dufaycolor giving useful technical data on the process. 
A copy may be obtained upon application to Dufay- 
Chromex Ltd.. 14 lfi. Cockspur Street. London. S.W.I. 

□ □ 

OBITUARY 

We regret to announce the death of JULIAN P. 
WITHERS, sound camera operator at Sound City 
Studios, as the result of a motor-cycle accident at Oouls- 
don, where he lived, on February 9th, 1938. 

We convey the deepest sympathy of the Association 
to his familv and friends 



May-June. 1938 THE CINE- TECHNICIAN 19 

£10,000,000 FOR £18 

THE FILM SOCIETY'S CENTENARY 



Dear George, 

It was nice to hear from you. I'm glad you enjoyed 
the Film Society lunch at the Cafe Eoyal on Feb. 'Ahh. 
I gather it was a good lunch. I envied you eating my 
portion, as 1 sat in my Spanish hotel, gnawing a cut off 
the best end of a mule, and cracking thirteen (count 'em) 
Barcelona nuts. I thought of you sitting in the New 
Gallery afterwards with your stomach all aglow, while 
the veteran copy of Caligari tottered through the projec- 
tors in celebration of the 100th performance. 

Did you know that the Society first showed that 
picture in its sixth programme on March 14th, 1926? And 
that it was made on tick by penniless German technicians 
in the days of the great depression aiter the Great War? 
That all the stock sets available were so decrepit that 
it proved cheaper to re-paint these canvas flats and sub- 
stitute DESIGN for UNCONTEOLLED NATURALISM? 
That out ot this burst of energy of brain and brawn a 
him revival arose that brought wealth and fame to the 
German cinema from all over the world? 

Is it possible that our present slump could throw up 
a cheap Him that would startle the world? Why not? 
As long as the slump does not disgorge a gobbet of fascism, 
we might as well look for a bright side in these days that 
'"couldn't be worse." 

Have you looked at that brochure Film Society 
History? Around 600 films are listed there. Have you 
ever thought of the thousands of films seen and considered 
from which those few hundred were finally selected? The 
telephone calls, telegrams, letters, contracts, translations, 
journeys, projection, editing, titling, rehearsing involved? 
All right. Avert your mind, if you will. The Film Society 
is at your service. 

Many of these few hundred would never have had 
a showing here but for the Society's interest in them. 
"Madchen in Uniform" for one. 

Some of them have never been shown in these islands 
again. For instance, "Die Dreigroschenoper, " Pabst's 
film version of Brecht's play with the bitter, nostalgic 
music of Kurt Weill. Some have. But of these very few- 
have been seen again in their original state. 

Take "Ekstase." Here was a film from Prague that 
was immensely impressive in its original form in spite of 
a pedestrian musical score. But I doubt whether am 
audience in the world other than the members of the Film 
Society saw that film as its producers intended it to be 
shown. Censors nibbled at it in every country. The ver- 
sion no . running in London (five years late) has had some 
three minutes removed by the English censor, but far 
more had already been cut by censors in other countries. 
The result is a slow, sex-conscious effort, with all the 
emphasis on the ADULTS ONLY ticket. The several 
hundred feet which have been cut were the making of 
the film, leaving it fresh, healthy and unrepressed. If 
anyone believes that the present warped, repressed, 
castrated version bears any relationship to the very- 
lovely film of five years ago. let him chase the idea right 
out of his mind. 

Among other importations shown by the Society and 
subsequently twisted and markedly thrown out of balance 
by censorship were "Karamazov," the French "Crime 
and Punishment," Guitry's "Roman d'un Tricheur," and 
many of the Soviet masterpieces, the most recent being 



"We from Kronstadt." "Karamazov" was so mutilated 
that Goldwyn took his Hollywood version off the floor 
when he was warned by cable ot the English censors' 
attitude to the story. 

Questions have been asked in the House of Commons 
regarding the enthusiasm evoked by some of the Society's 
presentations. Members of Parliament were alarmed to 
learn that English men and women could stand on their 
seats and cheer black and white images on a flat screen. 

The manager of the Phoenix 'theatre received an 
anonymous postcard warning him that should "The Blue 
Express" be shown by the' Society in his theatre, the 
premises would be bombed. The Express ran on 
schedule, but the bomb did not keep its promise to appear. 

The most startling (and sobering) of Film Society 
presentations — again unique — was the "Record of War" 
in the 98th programme. The Abyssinian War, seen from 
either side alternately, was too much for the audience. 
After two hours of relentless demonstration, they left the 
theatre, shocked and shamed into uneasy silence. The 
winning side have decreed that this presentation must not 
occur again. 

What more would you know- of the 100 programmes? 
Here among players Bergner, Garbo. Sten, Krauss, Veidt. 
Fernandel, the Soviet players, countless stars of all 
nationalities have made their bow on the British screen. 
The work of a host of directors has been introduced for 
the first time — Leni. Berger, Pick, Wiene, Clair, Caval- 
canti, Grierson, Sjostrom, Renoir, Ruttmann, Eisenstein, 
Pudovkin, and the rest; the fantasies of Melies, Reiniger, 
Fischinger. Bartosch. Moholy-Nagy , Cocteau ; Jewish. 
Russian, Japanese. Chinese. Mongolian, Polish. 
Indian, Turkish, Italian, every nation that possesses a 
movie camera has contributed to these shows. The cap- 
ital investment hi these productions must have exceeded 
£10,000,000. Ten million pounds worth of celluloid not 
otherwise available, privately paraded over thirteen years 
for a membership charge of £18. (100 x 3 fid.) 

It's a gift. ( reorge. 

Yours in consternation. 

THOEOLD DICKINSON 

Barcelona, March z/\th 

# # * 

GROWTH OF DEMAND FOR 
RELIGIOUS FILMS 

During the season ended March 31st. 1937, 1.800 
demonstration religious film programmes were given in 
churches. In addition to the film programmes, 102 other 
exhibitions and demonstrations were arranged by the 
Religious Film Society . 

During the year 1937, there were over 1.400 bookings 
of films from the Society's religious film library, and many 
more bookings have come through the Society and have 
been passed on to other film libraries. 

About the middle of 1987 a contract was entered into 
lor the supph of 200 sound projectors to Churches, Sunday 
Schools, and other religious bodies. This arrangement 
w as made with Gaumont-British Equipments, and as part 
of the scheme Gaumont-British Instructional undertook 
to make six new religious films in collaboration with the 
Society. 



20 



I H E C I N E-TECHNICIAN 



May-June 1986 



Cinema Log 

by KENNETH GORDON 



DOCUMENTARY FILMS SHOULD BE 
THE PROFESSIONAL'S PROVINCE 

MET John Grierson, much publicised documentary 
chief, and enquired win he encourages 
amateurs to take up the making of documen- 
tary 16 mm. films in competition with the pro- 
fessional who has been so hard hit by the trade slump. 
His reply was that a number of concerns had only 650 
to spend on film propaganda and so he recommended 
these clients to hand their filming over to amateur cine 
societies as he didn't think the money worth a profes- 
sional film technician's consideration. 

1 undertook to show he was wrong. And here are a 
lew rough figures to prove it. Many technicians who are 
out of work could do these jobs and profit could be ob- 
tained l>\ an\ firm hacking such a project. 
(All figures are for 10 m.m. film). 

£ s. d. 

Hire oi camera (1 week) ... ... ... 2 2 

400ft. neg. stock (equivalent to 1,000ft. 35 mm.) 4 4 

Printing 400 ft. (1 copy) 2 10 

Developing Keg. ... ... ... ... ... 12 

Cameraman ... ... ... ... ... 15 

Lights (if required) ... ... ... ... 5 

Travelling and general expenses ... ... ... 6 

Editing ... 22 

.Making and Printing Titles 2 2 



£39 12 



leaving us £10 8s. Od. for incidentals, or £15 8s. Od. if 
lights are not needed. 

I personally have a great respect lor our amateur 
friends, and have seen some very good work turned out 
by them. But hospitals, churches and other institutions 
requiring the greatest appeal in the 16 mm. field with 
limited funds should know that they can obtain a pro- 
fessional job at these figures. Music and commentary 
can be added if a little more cash is available. 

SAYS ANDREW BUCHANAN 

As guest speaker at the London Film Institute 
Society's showing of sub-standard films. Mr. Buchanan 
spoke in challenging vein. Quotes The Cinema : 

"He stressed the importance of keeping the amateur 
movement alive, saying it was an example to the pro- 
fessional industry and that he had seen a film costing £5 
which had shown more ingenuity and appreciation of 
film values than some mammoth picture. Mr. Buchanan 
pointed out that the non-professional has freedom to do 
what he likes — the amateur, too, does not think of 
film making in terms of money". 

You're telling us, Mr. Buchanan ! 

Alter some more deprecatory remarks concerning 
the British industry, the effect thereon of Bills, and the 
high wages thought by some technicians to be their due : 
"If", said Mr. Buchanan, "we have succeeded in making 
better documentaries than any other country, we should 
extend this field. Amateurs were keeping alive this 
spirit and were more liable to create a true revival than 
'my Bill". 



There were a lot more documentary garnishing* in 
hie speech which space prevents mj reporting. What I 
want to point out to Mr. Buchanan is that his name has 
been built on the loyal co-operation ol professional techni- 
cians. Many documentary people, learned their job in a 
Government department, where time was no object. 
Professional film lolk have had to contend with commer- 
cial supervision. 1 welcome the documentary, but dis- 
like this continual depreciation of the. professional 
technician. M.\ own work and thai of m\ colleagues 
in this field is turned out in a day or part ot a day, and 
the resulting films are highly commercial and not entirely 
inartistic. They have had a market in all parts of the 
world and mam times have been used as cut-ins and 
backgrounds for major productions both at home and in 
America. The screen magazines to which they are a 
contribution hold the record for the longest continuous 
run in the motion picture world. 

Buchanan made his name by his linked commentary 
in Gaumont Cine-Magazine — Grierson by "Drifters". 
Each were backed by a first-c lass professional technical 
crew. "Drifters" received very wide praise and is re- 
garded as a landmark in documentary. But it is 
not the only possible story to be found in the herring 
fleets. The drama ot the thousand or more boats, fish- 
ing in hundreds of miles of stormy waters, catching 
millions of herrings, and the thousands of families de- 
pendent on the vicissitudes of the shoals and markets, 
has nevej yet been told in motion pictures. 

VYbv not stop riding the professional film technician, 
documentary chiefs ? 

ERIC MAYELL COMING HOME ON HOLIDAY 

Eric May ell, English-born "ace" American news- 
reeler and "Panay" hero, is coming home for a rest. 

Eric, who will be remembered as one-time editor oi 
Pathe Gazette and as a founder member of the old Kine- 
Cameramen's Society, has been for many years in 
America. He is a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 059 and 
has been newsreeling in the China War tor Movietone with 
his Bell & Howell Eyemo. 

Eric Mayell says: "It's quite a relief to be in a war 
where you are only dodging bombs and what-not occa- 
sionally, instead of living in Los Angeles where you are 
dodging sudden death from automobiles all the time." 

We'll be seeing you. Eric. 

GOOD NEWS 

The Korda-United Artists deal is through. A.B.F.D. 
have signed George Formby and his picture "In The 
Air" goes on the floor at Ealing June 6th, following 
"Penny Paradise" starring Edmund Gwenn, whose con- 
tract calls for two more during the summer. "Black 
Limelight" hits the floor at A. B.C. Elstree. Pinewood 
and Gainsborough have a number in preparation. Ted- 
dington are well away. Welwyn and Walton are working 
to schedule. 

[Continued on next page) 



May-June, 1938 THE C INE-TEC H NIC 1 A N 21 



CINEMA LOG 

(Continued from previous page) 

SOME FEATURES OF THE DUPLEX CAMERA 

From America comes news of a new 35 mm. Cine 
camera. 

Weight 201bs., with 3 lenses and view finder — 
capacity 1,000 ft. or 400 ft. Bi-pack magazines for colour 
work — shutter 3-blade, 220 degrees with hand dissolve— 
focussing accomplished without racking through telescope 
on ground glass — has pilot pins and pressure pad release- 
buckle switch and reset — ball bearings throughout — 
aperture plate hardened steel which is hard chromium 
plated, polished and lapped to a mirror finish to which 
emulsion will not adhere — lens mounts on revolving turret 
for 3 lenses, mounts designed for hard wear, scaled in feet 
and also graduated for Bi-pack film — sun shade is fastened 
to extension arm of the camera itself and allows 2" filters 
to be used in holder, camera is easily threaded and has 
ample room for Bi-pack (2) films. Door cannot shut un- 
less sprocket rollers, pilot pins and gate are correct. 
Magnified erect image view-finder. 




View of Duplex Super Camera with Bi-Pack Magazine. 

CHEMICALS FOR PHOTOGRAPHY 

Readers interested in the above can be put on the 
mailing list of Messrs. Johnson & Sons, the manufactur- 
ing chemists of Hendon, by sending a postcard to the 
A.C.T. office. 

HIRE OF LIGHTS 

Mr. Page of Mole-Richardson tells us he has added 
considerably to their hire stock, such as 10 k.w. suns, 
36" suns, sound booms, control trucks and special effects. 
Their services cover a 24-hour day and a phone call to 
Willesden 6834 or Elstree 1513 will bring their silent 
mobile generator and efficient plant to your service. 

CRAZY FINANCE 

An example of the "overpayment" of film workers is 
illustrated by the following advert, in a London paper. 
"Man for film dispatch dept., wages 25/- per week. 
Hours: Tuesday 9 a.m. to 5.45 p.m.. Wednesday, 10.30 
p.m. to Thursday 9 a.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5.45 p.m., 
Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday 10.30 p.m. till Monday 
9 a.m. Write, stating age, etc., to Box " 



NEW B. & H. 16mm. PROJECTOR 

A new 16 mm. projector for large halls using an arc 
as illuminant is being marketed by Bell & Howell. This 
sound projector has been specially engineered after a long 
period of experimentation and gives screen illumination 
lour times as bright as present models. Carbons are 
auto-positioned by electric control to maintain uniform gap 
as they burn. This equipment will only operate on alter- 
nating current at present — special carbons are used. The 
projector is supplied with a choice of lenses, cither 2" f.1 .(> 
3" f.2.3, 3-i" f.2.7 or 4" f.2.8. 




Film Arc Projector. 



SPEED LENSES, A BABY AND ALL THAT 

While 1 was congratulating Shaw Jones on the birth 
of a daughter, he told me some interesting facts about 
his camera hire service. He has equipped his camera 
fleet with a batch of fast lenses, Ross f.l.9s, for shooting 
his colour speciality, Dufay-Chromex. His Newman 
Sinclair cameras are working at present in Algiers, Spain, 
Switzerland and the Sahara Desert. 

Shaw Jones has a programme of films, chiefly colour 
shorts, lined up to date. Last year, in spite of the in- 
dustry's state, he made 15 films and he has completed 
three this year. Expect to see his "brand new daughter" 
starring in some of the 15 — a baby is cert Box Office. 



VOLUME THREE 

Our last issue completed Volume Three. An inde.x 
is issued as an inset to this number. 

Self-binding Cases, large enough to hold two volumes 
of "The Cine-Technician" may be obtained, price 3s. 6d. 
each, postage extra, from A.C.T. , 145. Wardour Street. 
W.l. 



22 



I'HK (IN E-T ECHNI01AN 



May-June, 1988 



GEORGE MELIES— PIONEER 



Melies started his career as a factory worker, hut 
alter a variety of jobs — as mechanic, cabinet maker, pain- 
ter and caricaturist, he bough! the Theatre Robert - 
Houdin in Paris, where he staged spectacular shows of 
magic and illusion. Besides being a producer and a prin- 
cipal performer — conjuring was a life-long passion of his 
he took a hand in any work there was to be done — scene 
painting, prop, making, the devising of special lighting 
effects, etc. 

On December 28th, 189o, the Lumiere brothers gave 
the first public exhibition of the cinematograph, in the 
basement of a Paris cafe. But although the audience ol 
35 people were duly impressed, the Luniieres foresaw for 
their invention only the short life of a scientific curiosity. 

Melies, however, was one of those 35, and with his 
mechanical knowledge, his fertile imagination, and his 
eight years' experience of the entertainment world, he at 
once glimpsed far greater possibilities. Since Lumiere 
refused to sell his equipment at am figure. Melies made 
some of bis own. bought film from Paul, the pioneer Eng- 
lish producer, and soon was photographing the varied lite 
of the Paris streets. Next lie turned his attention to his 
own theatre and filmed one of the main acts, a disappear- 
ing trick, but the film was not a success. 

He refused to he discouraged and in 1896 made his 
first important discovery. An accidental jam in his 
camera revealed to him. when the rushes were projected, 
the possibilities of stop and start motion, and he com- 
menced immediately to exploit them. Soon he was using 
dissolves. Super-impositions, reverse shooting, double ex- 
posure, slow and fast motion, and one-turn one-picture 
photography, and no longer depending on theatrical tricks 
for his effects. 

His discoveries, known unl\ to himself, gave him a 
pre-eminent position among producers, and in 1898 he 
built the first film studio, "a cross." as he described it. 
"between a photographic studio, and a theatre stage." 
with trapdoors and machinery lor "flying" effects, etc.. 
as at the Kobert-Houdin . and with a glass roof so that 
artificial light could be as far as possible dispensed with. 

Here he could combine his old ait of conjuring with 
his discoveries in the cinematographic field. He pro- 
gressed beyond the original type of film with a single 
setting and a single piece of action, and by 1900 had made 
three "super productions," "Cendrillon, " "Petit Chap- 
eron Rouge," and "Barbe Bleu'* each 1,500 feet long, 
as well as a regular production of one film a week. All 
films were hand tinted and the range and brilliance of his 
colours are surprising even to the eye accustomed to 
modern colour cinematography. 

Soon he passed on to fictional subjects, usually choos- 
ing semi-scientific fantasies reminiscent of the works of 
Jules Verne, but with a strong fairy element. His pre- 
paratory drawings alone are a witness to the richness 
and fertility of his imagination, ranging from factories full 
of strange and wonderful machinery to web-footed, claw- 
handed denizens of the moon, from pantomime figures 
riding horse buses to the constellations inhabited by their 
appropriate figure of the Zodiac. These films had'an in- 
ternational distribution: "The Kingdom of the Fairies," 
one of the most widely exploited of early motion pictures, 
was accompanied by n special musical score at its 



premieres in Paris. New York and London, in September. 
J 902. 

Melies, however, did not confine himself to fantasies, 
but staged dramatic reconstructions of important con- 
temporary events, notably "The Ureyfus Case" and "The 
Coronation of Edward VII." 

In the early years of the present century, duplicate 
Copies of the films were often made and sold without 
authorisation. To protect himselt against this practice, 
Melies sent his brother Gaston to New York, where be 
opened an office, and issued a list of Melies's "Star 
Films" — probabh the first trade mark in the business 
and a warning to "all counterfeiters and pirates." In 
December. 1907. the companx was one of the foundation 
members of the Edison Licensees, a group formed to end 
years of litigation over patent rights and which, one year 
later, became the .Motion Picture Patents Company. 

Hitherto, producers had for the most part sold copies 
of their films outright to the exhibitor, but with the de- 
velopment of the renting system. Melies found his busi- 
ness falling off. He preferred the quicker return brought 
by direct selling, since he wanted to go ahead with further 
production : but exhibitors found the new system more 
convenient. Between 19()8 and 1910. with the boom in 
American production and the discovery by rival French 
firms of many of Melies's secrets, his difficulties 
intensified. 

In 191 J. his offices were taken over for war purposes 
and an almost complete set of his films destroyed for the 
lack of the money necessary to rehouse them. He went 
on producing, none the less, concentrating on fairy stories 
for children — "The Enchanted Lake." "The Dragon Fly 
Fairy." etc. But the conception of screen entertainment 
was changing, and Melies did not care to introduce into 
his productions the stars and other modern innovations 
which the exhibitors demanded. 

After the war he remained in obscurity until, in 1928. 
he was found selling newspapers in the Paris streets. For 
a time he sold sweets and cigarettes near the Garp 
St. Lazare at a kiosk bought for him by public subscrip- 
tion, but. getting too old for this, he was admitted in 
1938 to the Maison de Ketraite d'Orly. at the instance 
of the Chambre Syndicate Francaise du Cinematographic, 
which he founded in 1897 and presided over for 10 years. 
Here, in January of this year, he died of cancer, penni- 
less, leaving not enough money to pay for his funeral. 
The funeral expenses were defrayed by French and Eng- 
lish film workers, who thus paid belated tribute to one 
of the earliest and greatest pioneers of their craft. 



"A TRADE UNIONIST'S VIEW OF POLITICS" 

Labour Publications Department. Id. 

To those to whom trade unionism and industrial 
politics are still a nrystery this pamphlet will give a crisp 
and concise outline of labour history and its present aims 
and objects. 

To the cinema worker or employer it will explain 
many things that will have appeared crazy in the passing 
of the Films Bill. A.C.T. members will find this little 
book helpful in consolidating their personal outlook about 
political action by organised labour 



May-June, 193b 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



28 



PRECISION EQUIPMENT. 




STEEL CUTTING TABLE 



FILMS & EQUIPMENTS Ltd. 

145 WARDOUR ST. LONDON, W.I. 



24 



T HE C I N E T E C H N I C J A N 



Vlay-June L088 



LAB TOPICS 

LIME FOG AND ITS PREVENTION 

Lime lug is a deposit of almost insoluble lime salts 
on neg. or pos. films in the form of whitish obscuration. 
The lime salt that usually forms this fog is CALCIUM 
CARBONATE and its soluble acid salt is CALCIUM 
BICARBONATE. It is almost always found in water, 
which makes the water hard. When water containing 
much lime, i.e.. of 10° hardness, is used lor washing 
between ihe developing and fixing processes, this water 
becomes quicklj cloudy and a deposit is formed on the 
tank or tube bottom. This deposit can be dissolved by 
acids with effervescence due to the formation ol 
CARBONIC ACID. 

This deposit on the tank oi' tube contaminates the 
film stock in the form oi lime fog. The action of the 
ALKALI-SODA carried over liuin the developer is to con- 
vert the soluble CALCIUM BICARBONATE into in- 
soluble CALCTUM CARBONATE. 

Lime' salts may come from the lighj sensitive films. 
Even if the water is free from them, the gelatine ma\ 
contain them. Indeed it nearh, always contains CAL- 
CIUM CARB. and often CALCIUM PHOSPHATE and 
CALCIUM SULPHATE. These dissolve in the emulsion 
preparation and remain as soluble salts in the him stock. 
(In development they are precipitated in pari into the 
developing solution as CALCIUM CARBONATE, making 
it cloudy in use and in a large degree this cloudiness 
consists' of CALCIUM SALTS, especially CALCIUM 
CARB., which causes lime fogging to commence in the 
developer. 

In cinematograph laboratories with the developing 
solutions in intensive use this lime deposit causes slime 
in tanks and tubes. These insoluble salts are white in 
colour, but in their precipitation they take with them the 
coloured oxidation products and particles of silver and 
dirt and thus form coloured deposits. 

The remarkable properties of SODIUM HEXA- 
METAPHOSPHATE (Na P0 :j ) 6 were discovered. Gener- 
ally the phosphates of alkaline earth metals are insoluble 
in water and also do not dissolve in excess ot alkali phos- 
phate, the phosphates of METAPHOSPHORIC ACID 
and similar compounds make a notable exception. With 
an alkali. METAPHOSPHATES in a lime salt solution 
not only prevent precipitate forming, but also deposits of 
CALCIUM CARBONATE, CALCIUM SULPHATE or 
CALCIUM PHOSPHATE already present are dissolved. 
Dr. Kail Kieser of Benel-on-Rhine suggested the use of 
SODIUM HENAMETAPHOSPHATE as a remedy for 
lime fog in the photographic world. In its solutions 
SODIUM II EXAM ETA PHOSPHATE has a p H. of about 
fj. and therefore is slightly acid. To prevent any lessening 
of the developer strength, it is recommended that instead 
of pure SODiVM HEX AM ETA PHOSPHATE, a mixture 
of phosphates with a p H of 8.5 be used. This is mnr- 
keted under the name of "CALGON" by Johnson's the 
chemists. 

This is used in the proportion ot 1-3 g. per litre of 
di ■ loper, and prevents difficulties, including those caused 
qi content of washing water and fixing baths. lie- 
de tie- prevention of lime fog on stock, it will cure 
the lime deposit on tanks and tubes. 



NITRATE OR NON-FLAM? 

Mr. A. E. Amor lectured to members of the R.P.S. 
Ivine Group recently on why inflammable film was still 
being used in preference to non-Ham 

Why, he asked, was not non-fiam universally used'.' 

The answer was that the physical characteristics of 
cellulose acetate were entirely different from those of the 
cellulose nitrate inflammable support. The nitrate base 
would always have preference because it gave from two 
to four times as many runs. 

In discussion, one member mentioned, however, that 
recent researches in Germany showed that the running life 
of cellulose acetate was 15% below that of nitrate. 
Another said one hundred copies of a film on coloured 
non-flam had recently been released and complaints were 
were being received that they were not standing up to 
the work. We laboratory workers know non-flam as being 
very difficult to work with, as it curls up badly and is very 
hard to make perfect joins with. 

CHARACTERISTICS OF NITRATE FILM 

The inflammable base is a mixture of camphor and 
cellulose nitrates. Its energy is somewhat restrained by 
the camphor, but it bears a close relationship to the 
powerful explosive, gun-cotton, in that it ignites with ex- 
plosive energy purely by heat or condensed light without 
contact of a flame. The chief ingredient, cellulose nitrate 
is formed from cellulose, which comes from the wood} 
material of plants and is found almost pure in cotton 
wool, hemp, etc. This is treated with a mixture of nitric 
acid and sulphuric acid to result in cellulose nitrate. 

PARAGRAPHS 

The new system of light changing recently introduced 
on Debrie printing machines eliminates the possibility of 
light or dark frames at the change. The light intensity 
is no longer varied by resistance: instead, the template, 
which is punched with holes of the appropriate diameter 
for each exposure is interposed between light source and 
him. 

It is rumoured that British Chenhcolor are to make 
a fresh start at Boreham Wood. A new three-colour 
process is being mentioned. 

Our membership is still growing and approaches 100% 
in some labs. Each member should set himself or her- 
self the task of recruiting one non-member a month. 

An A.C.T. lab bulletin is now issued on alternate 
months to "'The Cine-Technician" in order that all lab 
members can get monthly news of activities. The first 
issue was on April 1st, and a copy may be obtained gratis 
from lab secretaries or Head Office. 

Anent the old joke about "sharps" in the bath. An 
exhibitor sent in a neg. of a local event for developing 
and printing : after development it was found to be too 
hopelessly out of focus to be worth printing. A wire was 
sent to this effect and the reply came: "What the hell 
do you think I've got focussing on the projectors for".' 
Print it !" 

WHAT'S IN A NAME? 

Now then you photographic chemists. I want six ozs. 
of MONOMETHYLPARAMIDOPHENOL SULPHATE 
weighed up! Which of your stock of chemicals is this'.' 
Well? 

To tell the truth, it's only pure metol all dressed up 
high and fancy ready to take a dive into some warm 
water. 

GAMMA 



May-June. 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



25 



A.C.T. Reading Room 
and Library 

The following publications are received regularly and 
may be consulted and read at the A.C.T. office : — 



DAILY : 

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MONTHLY : 

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MONTHLY: 

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YEAR BOOKS : 

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Title 

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Coloured Light 

Colour Cinematography . . . 

Filmcraft 

Only Yesterday 

Film Production 

Movies on Trial 

Paprika 

Popular Television 

Portrait Photography 

Soviet Cinema 

Star Turn 

Theatre and Motion Pictures 

Twenty-five Years of Films 
Waterloo in Wardour Street 
Money Behind the Screen 

Amnteur Movies 



Author 

Andrew Buchanan 
Major Adrian Klein 
Major Adrian Klein 
Adrian Brunei 
Adrian Brunei 
Adrian Brunei 
William J. Perlman 

F. Yon Stroheim 
Barton Chappie 
Franz Feidler 
Yarious 

Rene Clair 

Extract from Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica 

G. R. Doyle 

E. Siepmann 

F. Klingender and Stuart 
Legg 

Alex. Strasser 



Successful Film Writing 

Icy Hell ' 

Hollywood Through the Back 

Door 

Romance of the Movies 

American Film 

Better Photographs 

How to Write and Sell Film 

Stories 

Sound Recording for Films ... 
Popular Entertainment Through 

the Ages 

Footnotes to the Film 

Continuity Girl 

The Face on the Cutting Room 

Floor 

Movie Parade 

The Complete Projectionist ... 

Scruffy 

The Film Game 

Writing for the Films 

How to Write a Movie 

Trade Union Documents 
The Cinema as a Graphic Art 

200,000 Feet on Foula 

Promised Land 

John, Film Star 

The Seven Soviet Arts 

Film Music 

Elephant Dance 

Money for Film Stories 

Movies for the Millions 

Film and Theatre 

Photography To-day 

Plan for Cinema 

Film Acting 

Careers in the Films 

British Fi'ms 

A Statistical Survey of the 

Cinema Industry in 1084 ... 
Behind the Screen 



Seton Margrave 
Will E. Hudson 

E. Nils Holstius 

Leslie Wood 
Eric H. Rideout 
Marcel Natkin 

Frances Marion 
W. F. Elliott 
S. McKechnie 

Charles Davy 
Martha Bobinson 

( Sameron McCabe. 
Paul Rotha 
R. Howard Cricks 
Claude Burbidge 
Low Warren 
L'Estrange Fawcett 
Arthur L. Gale 
Milne-Bailey 
Vladimir Nilsen 
Michael Powell 
Cedric Belfrage 
Evelyn Eaton 
Knit London 
Kurt London 

F. H. Flaherty 
Norman Lee 
Gilbert Seldes 
Allardyce Nicoll 
D. A. Spencer 
Dallas Bower 
V. I. Pudovkin 
Robert Humfrey 
"An Englishman" 

S. Rowson 
Edited by 

Stephen Watts 



THE CINE TECHNICIAN 



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26 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



May-J.une. 103* 



Recent Publications 



AMERICAN CIISEMATOGRAPHER 
HANDBOOK & REFERENCE GUIDE 

(Second Edition). 

Written and Compiled bj Jackson •) . Rose, A.S.C.. 

American Society of Cinematographers. $3 
This little book certainlj justifies its title. It is mil 
ni useful information on cinematography; not merely 
standard, but Kirnm. and H mm. as well. It contains all 
that is in Westenbcrg's well-known bonk, aud considerably 
more besides. There is, for instance, a clear and concise 
section on the various filters used nowadays, explaining 
not only their exposure factors, but their exact use and 
effect; an elaborate and detailed section on all the well- 
known modern cameras, both American and European, 

their construction and capabilities. The tables on lens 
stops and shutter exposures seem to cover every possible 
combination. One unusual, but very useful, table gives 
the necessary camera speed-up for increasing the apparent 
speed of motor-cars. It deals with the various makes ol 
miniature" cameras using 3/5 mm. film, has several pages 
on wipes and make-up. and is, on the whole, a book 
which would be useful to all film-technicians, not only to 
the cameramen. Besides its more usual contents it has 
a fair amount of odd data, such as advice on handling 
material under tropical and arctic conditions, and a camera 
check-list which would make it impossible to leave any 1 
thing behind when going on location. It is a pity that 
its price of approximately 12/6 is so high, otherwise it 
would, I am sine, get the wide sale it undoubtedly 
deserves. 

E. A. GBAHAM 

N.B. — Special arrangements have been made whereby it ten 
or more copies are ordered through A. CI', members 
may obtain them at a price of $2.25 {approximately 
9/6). Orders, with remittance, should be placed 
through the Secretary, A.C.T., 145, Wardow Street, 
Loudon, Wi. — Editor. 

INTELLIGENT HOKUM 
HOW TO WRITE AND SELL FILM STORIES 

By FRANCES MARION. .John .Miles. 12/6 net. 
Of the making of books about films there is no end, 
and ot those that are made few have as much justifica- 
tion as this. From the outset Miss Marion makes it clear 
that this is not a book on how to write scripts ; it is on how 
to write short stories that will be suitable for screen 
adaptation, and it is frankly written for the American 
market. 

No useful purpose could be served by saying how 
well and clearly it is written as little can be added to the 
official "blurb". The point that interests me most in 
it is the use that it will be to our British scenarists, and 
the angles they w ill be able to obtain from it on the putting 
over of intelligent hokum. The author and scenarist of 
such successes as "The Champ". "Min and Bill", "The 
Big House" and "The Yank at Oxford" is, I think, the 
best person in the world to write about the good com- 
mercial picture, the typical M.G.M. product, the film 
story that appeals to the greatest numbers at the box- 
office. It is frequently felt that many of our younger 
scenarists ore comparatively inexperienced people whose 
knowledge of life has been gained in the bars of the West 
End, where they talk "film" but cannot talk "life", 
lis? Marion herself says that "a writer who has., never 



experienced in any degree the emotions he seeks to depict, 
or in whom no semblance of emotion is aroused by 
imaginative writing, is most unlikely to contrive a scene 
that will thrill others .... It is the recognition of the 
emotional content and the emotional effect of experience 
that gives a writer his power". 

It might be uselul for the young scenarist to steep 
himself in this book, get ut the kernel of its truths, and 
apply its principles rigidly to his own work, particularly 
where it stresses the economy ot means, the sparing use 
ot dialogue as such, and the need lor showing almost 
every phase of development and emotion in terms of 
action. The effort might be long but certainly not 
wasted. Among the important chapters for him should 
be those on Characterisation. Dialogue, Emotion, and 
Common Errors. 

Finally there is the script of "Marco Polo", bj 
Hobert Sherwood, which fully justifies the space it takes 
up. On all counts, one ot the best and most practical 
books on the subject we have vet had. 

J.N- B. 

YOUR PASSPORT, SIR (AND MADAM)! 

Careers in the Films, bj Robert Bumfrey. 1'itman. 
3/6 net. 

Let's all start again. Go back, one, five, ten or 
more years to that time when we decided to work in films. 
We'll assume the publication of this book coincided with 
that urge or whatever it was drove us into films. 

Being sensible we bought this newly-published book 
(or our parents did for us), as its dust jacket says it 
"enables the would-be entrant to the film world to acquire 
that sound knowledge of film technique which is prac- 
tically the only passport to employment in the studio." 

We read the book. Then we act in accordance with 
the knowledge we have assimilated. Off we go! 

1. We remember pages 7 and 10 and ask advice of a 
distinguished critic. "Dear Mister Lejeune" we 
start. Oh. la, la! 

2. Read a little more film history . Perhaps we read 
about William Friese-Greene's patent of the first 
motion-picture camera in 1880. Then we remember 
Mr. Humfrey's account of the early days of the 
British film industry. Page 18 says the first camera 
was in 1804. As to Friese-Greene, he's not even 
mentioned. So there! Still we never did like 
history. 

3. Now for a job. Let's start in the labs. So we visit 
the Technicolor Laboratories at Denham because 
that's where page 04 says they are. 

4. Having walked back from Ha-mondsworth, All. 
Humfrey. we turn to your appendix and see what 
other labs there are. Alore than halt of them have 
disappeared overnight. Dear, dear.! Still, the rest 
are charming places. Page 82 says the floors and 
walls are lined with glazed tiles and there is air- 
conditioning which keeps them at a constant 
temperature irrespective of exterior conditions. All 
the labs, Mr. Humfrey? 

5. Let's try elsewhere. Ask a studio for a job as a 
"clapstick boy". He's found on Page 8 and 
frequently thereafter. 



May-June, 1938 



THE C I X E - T E C H X I C I A \ 



27 



8. 



We'll try again. Pages 35 and 36 should help us. 
There's a list of the jobs in a studio working down 
from the top. Let's take our choice. 
Casting director, the second most important person 
in the studio '.' 

Or an electrician. He's more important than a sound 
engineer. 

Or perhaps an editor. Sorry, that's out. There's no 
such person unless he is meant to he extracted iron) 
the "tailors, cutters, and fitters" attached to the 
rooster and mistress of the wardrobe. 
Or perhaps our old friend the mythical clapstick boy. 
He's listed many lines above the make-up specialist. 

No luck.' Let's try the labs again before we go 
home. Because page 40 says you'll find them in one 
of the studio blocks. And you'll still be looking for 
them it yon went to Pinewood. Sound City, Ealing. 
Teddington, Walton-on-Thames, Worton Hall, Wel- 
wyn, Gainsborough and others. 

Let's give it up, be independent, and set up as a 



10. 



free-lance cameraman, remembering page 78 told us 
there are many remunerative branches to free-lance 
work and there is no limit to the various kinds oi 
work tlie free-lance can take on. lint wrap-up well, 
as hanging about Wardour Street is a cold job. 
Doesn't Mr. Humfrey know that there's hardly a 
tree-lance man who wouldn't exchange his lot for a 

regular job? People are free-lance because they have 
to be. Not because they like it. 

Still, keep at it, particularly if you are a young girl, 
as you have only to make fair headway and you will 
be extravagantly well paid. It says so on page 80. 

Cheer up ! better times are coming. Remember 
page 6; The Government have promised to "afford 
adequate finance for reputable production organisa- 
tions capable of turning out films that could be guar- 
anteed to earn back a sum at least equivalent to 
production costs." Play the game. Oliver Stanley! 
You should have told the trade this and not made 
Mr. Robert Humfrey your only confidant. 



ALL ABOUT / 

THE 



FINEST 



IN TOWN 



NINE EDITORS OUT OF TEN ! "__ 

WILL TELL YOU THAT THE 'AMERICAN ' MOVIOLA IS FAVOURITE 
THAT IS WHY WE HAVE INSTALLED THE LATEST OF THIS TYPE 
IN ADDITION (FOR THOSE WHO PREFER THEM) WE HAVE THE 
EDITOLA MOVIOLA. THESE MODERN MOVIOLAS TOGETHER WITH 
1938 4 WAY SYNCHRONISERS AND THE FINEST GEAR MONEY CAN 
BUY. IS ALL HOUSED AS COMPLETE UNITS IN EVERY ONE OF OUR 
PRIVATE EDITING BAYS YOU REALLY MUST TRY THEM ! 




28 



THE C 1 N E ■ T E C fl N 1 C I A N 



May-June, 1086 



11. G-ot a job, yet? Good. Tr\ and join your trade 
union, technicians and artistes. That's beaten you. 
Page 8 says there aren't any. Our artisan friends 
are the only people with such organisations and then 
there's a "perhaps" attached to it. 

12. Mr. Humfrey is also a prophet. Page 95 says : "We 
may safely assume that the news-reels oi the near 
future will be in colour." A production news-reel 
chief has different views. But that, of course, \\;is 
only an article in the last issue of the "Cine- 
Technician." 

13. There's a lovely appendix. So helpful. Lists of this, 
that, and the other studios, some with their West 
End offices, some with their studio addresses; a 
list of seven directors (and one's a producer, any- 
way); four agencies (what have the others done?); 
and a charming list ol useful organisations. A.C.T's. 
in that. But don't try and call on us, because on 
page 101 we are still at our old address I 

P.S. — Dear publisher, how close was "nearly thirty years' 
close connexion with the film industry, both in 
the field and the studio"'.' (page 5). And what 
sort of field was it, anyway V 

E. A <>. K. 



RECIPE FOR THE FUTURE 

"BEHIND THE SCREEN" Edited b\ Stephen W atts. 

Arthur Barker Ltd. 8 6 net. 

This is an M.G.M. all-star production. With Hugh 
Walpole to introduce us. we are given a survey of motion- 
picture production by a team including Hunt Stromberg, 
George Cukor, Frances Marion, Cedric Gibbons, Douglas 
Shearer, Lee Garmes, Adrian, Natalie Kalmus, Lionel 
Barrymore, and Leslie Howard, to mention only the 
better-known names. Various other M.G.M. department 
heads contribute brisk and efficient support as called upon. 

The whole production moves slickly. It disarms by 
explicitly appealing neither to the technical expert nor 
to the rabid fan of particular stars, but to the "great 
mass of normal people, whose decisions, probably casually 
taken, to go to see a given film or to stay away, decide 
its fate as a venture in production." It's a Hollywood 
product, just as "A Yank at Oxford." M.G.M's. first 
"British" film was, and with whose release, by the way. 
it is nicely and coincidentallv timed. And it 
consequently presents a good idea of the strength and 
weaknesses of Hollywood. 

On anything dealing with administration, with the 
vast organisational job ol the M.G.M. studio, with the 
rationalised routines of the motion picture crafts, the book 
could be well taken aa a text by British studios and 
technicians. Stromberg : " A director who does not see eye 
to eye with his producer about the way a film is to be 
made, cannot make a good picture . . . The essence of 
production is time . . . the trial-and-error method of 
picture-making is suicidal in a modern studio" — a good 
"o for a few companies I could name (if they're still 
interested in film production). George Cukor. "(The 
director) must exist throughout the making of the picture 
in a curious elastic, yet firm, state of mind . . . the art of 



the director is to hold the delicate balance between giving 
something to, and taking something from, the people he 
works with. Cedric Gibbons'. ". .. it was decided to 
make unusual settings completely in miniature first. The 
idea was ridiculed, but .... the amount of money that 
this simple procedure has saved the studio in material. 
Labour costs and production time, is astounding." Jack 
htiim : '"I lie human face must to some extent be a 
canvas' lor the make-up artist, but he must never forget 
that it in a human face." Lee Garmet: "I have asked 
to be withdrawn from pictures in production simply be- 
cause my work was, frankly, terrible ... A photographer 
can be miscast just as surety as actor or director." 

But as to what all this energy, efficiency and skilled 
craftsmanship are about, the book is less helpful. Oi 
course, i has an answer. To make money by finding out 
what the, public wants and then giving it to them. The 
best and most candid exponent of this is Frances Marion, 
successti I fcenarist ot such pictures as "Min and Bill," 
" Dinner at Eight" and "Camille." "Plot," she says, "is 
secondary in importance to characters ... a character 
fascinates when he presents the qualities that the mem- 
bers of the typical audience would like to possess in them- 
selves ... it is imperative that he be likeable and that 
lie have certain king-approved traits . . . regarded as 
admirable by long generations ot mankind . . the scenario 
writer stresses motivation — that is, he makes clear a 
character's reason for doing whatever he does that is 
important" (though here I would differ, if I dare, and sug- 
gest that the strength and, above all, speed of the good 
American film lies precisely in that it is not too pedantic- 
ally motivated, just as the weakness of the average British 
film is that in motivating its characters it tries to answer 
too many of the sort of questions that would be asked by 
a dull but persistent twelve-year-old schoolboy). There is, 
in all this, no nonsense about "Art." Miss Marion has 
discovered certain rules for supplying a commercial pro- 
duct — and supplies it. to her own profit and the undoubted 
pleasure of millions. 

Others in the book, however, betray a less easy feel- 
ing. Leslie Howard, notably, whose disquiet takes the 
form of a well argued plea that "the talking picture, as 
at present known, is not a medium for the actor's art 
at all." He grumbles that "the experienced screen- 
writer . . . has learnt to exclude original ideas from his 
work" — an accusation conveniently confirmed by Miss 
Marion when she declares — "The amateur, as a rule, 
strives for new and widely different plots, but the pro- 
fessional writer sticks to those old plot patterns that for 
many years have proved to be satisfying to the public." 
With the instances of the successful starring of Sonja 
Henie. Walter Winchell, Ben Bernie, and the Dionne 
Quintuplets to support him. Howard finally comes to the 
conclusion that "the greatest and best controlled star of 
all is Mr. Micky Mouse, closely followed by his colleague; 
Donald Duck, Popeye the Sailor, and all the host of talent- 
ed performers who put none of the complications of cor- 
poral existence in the way of the picture-makers (the real 
artists of the medium) who manipulate them." 

This conclusion nearly leads him to the discovery ot 
the chief thing that is wrong with the cinema, the fact 
that, as Natalie Kalmus says, "Motion pictures have been 
steadily tending toward more complete realism." In one 
sense of realism, I would have no quarrel with that, the 
sense in which Hollywood is producing films like "Dead 
End," "Thev Won't Forget," "Black Legion." "Fury" 



May-June, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



—in which real problems are dealt with affecting people 
whose counterparts really exist beyond the studio walls. 
But that is not what Airs. Kalmus means by realism. She 
means technically more perfect reproduction of colour, of 
sound, of stereoscopic perspective — the increasingly exact 
mimicry of the actual physical world by the manuiactured 
world of the screen. And that's what's wrong. Because 
you can have that sort of realism and yet not touch fun- 
damentally the human mind and its problems or the 
human society and its problems at all. Perhaps Howard 
was feeling something of this. 

Or Lee Cannes, for his chapter is quite 
alive to the futility of this purely reproductive reality. He 
recalls how for the courtroom scene in "Crime Without 
Passion." no entire courtroom set was built but "instead 
we had a series of small sections, each created with the 
deliberate aim of making them photographically interest- 
ing ... I photographed this non-existent courtroom, think- 
ing all the time in terms of the cutting-room . . . ." Again, 
in the restaurant scene in the same film, "the normal pro- 
cedure" {for 'normal' read 'realistic') "might have diffused 
our dramatic interest . . . .So we built one small section 
with one table and photographed it in such a way that 
it seemed part of a restaurant and yet somehow isolated, 
just as all that we and the audience cared about in that 
restaurant was isolated from the rest of it." That sort 
of approach is cinematic; and we need more of it, even 
to the point of bringing back some of the tricks of the 
cinema that were frankly fantastic and whose only inheri- 
tors are Mickey and Donald and Popeye. 

And there's the recipe for the future. Fantasy re- 
introduced into the form, and human and social truth into 
the content — it sounds too good to be true. 

Which it probably is. 

SIDNEY COLE 



A LIST OF BOOKS ON 
CINEMATOGRAPHY, MARCH, 1938 

Compiled b\ the British Film Institute. 6d. 

The B.F.I, has performed a much-needed service in 
publishing this bibliography of the cinema. The list is 
divided under sub-heads, and the Technical section is 
especially interesting for the number of titles published 
before the post-war boom in both production and theory 
of films. There are, however, some notable omissions. 
The Periodicals section does not contain The Cine- 
Technician or the American publication New Theatre; a 
list ot defunct periodicals such as f'lose-U p and Cinema 
Quarterly would also be welcome. The History list 

should Surety include Upton Sinclair /'resents William 

Foe. and the Sociology H. A. Potamkin's pamphlet The 
Eyes of the Movie. Two works inspired by "The Cabinet 
of Dr. Caligari" — The Art of the Marin y I'ictnn (second 
edition 1919) by Vachel Lindsay, and Chaplin's essay in 
the defunct Adelphi — are omitted I'udovkin's Film 
Acting is mentioned here, but— tell it not in (lath — Film 
Technique is not there. 

The British Film Institute might find a study of the 
periodicals, year books and publications in the A.C.T. 
library mentioned elsewhere in this issue helpful when 
compiling their next bibliography. 

M.A. 



S.E. LONDON PHOTOGRAPHIC 
EXHIBITION 

A record of 838 entries was submitted to the recent 
exhibition of the South Suburban & Catford Photograph 
Society. Our representative says the prints showed a 
pleasant variety of papers and the professionally processed 
colour transparencies differed but little from those pro- 
cessed by the entrants. The society, however, could gain 
much from observation of good films. There was a lack 
of variety and freshness in angles and approach, too high 
a percentage of mid and long shots. More twentieth- 
century impressions would have been welcome, too. Fine 
modern buildings like the Battersea Power Station are 
more worthy subjects than a Victorian "Gothic Period" 
church, anil with the advent of high speed film and fast 
shutters there is no reason for so few records of the people 
around us, at work or at rest. Here the lantern slides 
scored over the prints — in composition, selection of sub- 
ject, and spatial relationship. Their exhibitor was pos- 
sibly influenced by the cinema. 

The winner of the Silver Cup, Mr. Butcher, presented 
a very fine dynamic composition in his "Interior View 
of Bexhill Pavilion," the repetitive rhythm of receding 
stairs being cleverly carried on and finished by the palm 
tree at the foot. Mr. C. Roberts and Miss K. Flower 
placed their subjects admirably. 

If South-East London can annually attract so many 
enthusiasts, let us hope that other districts and provinces 
will endeavour to emulate their commendable achieve- 
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30 



THE C I X E - T E ( H N 1 C I A N 



May -June. |£88 



Technical Abstracts 

Super Light Sought 

M.G.M. ELECTRICAL CHIEF FOLLOWS PATH 

OF STANFORD U. SCIENTISTS IN 
EXPERIMENTS WITH ULTRA POWER LIGHT 
SOURCES 

Spots oi Light so intense they rival the face oi the 

sun are the latest subjects tor experiment by Hollywood's 
wizards ot electricity. Intensive research into light higher 

in intensity khan ever used before in any place outside 
□ physics laboratory, is being conducted by Lou Kolb, 
chief electrical engineer at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 
studios, in the hope of evolving a new light quality and 
speed for photography . 

"High light from small points of origin," Kolb be- 
lieves, "may mean intense light without a great deal ol 
heat, thus making possible pow crfully lit sets for colour 
photography or for super-speed photography in interiors. 
Fast films so used are apt to lose photographic qualities 
through not penetrating shadows, hut with intense light, 
cool enough to be practical, speed plus absolute detail 
will be possible." 

Kolb is experimenting with light sources which pro- 
duce enormous amounts of light bom a point of origin of 
very small area, such as a point hardly the size of a pin- 
head producing hundreds ol eandlepower. The studio 
experiments follow along the same lines as a series oi 
research experiments that originated in the Stanford 
University laboratories, and recently were widely 
publicised. 

The idea is still m an experimental stage, say s Kolb. 
and he cannot predict yet to w hat extent it will be prac- 
tical in studio work. 

"Scenes like the great courtroom in 'Mary 
Antionette', " he points out. "have to be so intenselv 
lighted that the heat becomes oppressive, and doors have 
to he opened and stages ventilated at frequent intervals. 
The same is true in the opera house set of that picture. 
Similar intense lighting marked the Monterey fiesta se- 
quence in "The Girl of the Golden West'. 

"Hollywood has for years been seeking a light that 
would furnish actinic illumination with a minimum of 
heat. The idea oi intense heat from small origin points 
should solve this question, as much of the heat generated 
would be dissijiated in the air about the source of light, 
leaving comparatively cold rays where the light falls on 
the photographic object." 

A high-intensity electric current, says Kolb, would be 
used, but under rigid control. Laboratory tests now are 
being made to determine whether the ideas developed in 
the University laboratory may be practically adapted for 
mot ion pict ure product ion. 

• -International Photographer 

Colour of Outdoor Photographic 
Suhjects 

Abstract : Measurements have been made, on a tri- 
colorimeter designed for the purpose of the colour of the 
total light reflected into 9 n amera lens by a number of 



outdoor photographic subjects It has been found thai 
this colour is representable on the average by a colour 
temperature ol 4,800° K. and that none oi the subjects 
departs markedly from this, although components ol the 

subjects such as grass and sky are some way removed 

From white. The over-all colour remains the same during 

the whole ot the day, except towards sunset when the 
light rapidly becomes more blue-. 

7 In- Photographic Journal 

Two New Agfa Films 

The outstanding photographic news ol the closing 
months oi 1987 was undoubtedly the announcement by the 
Agfa Ans,-o Corporation ot two new motion picture nega- 
tive films, enormously taster than hid hitherto been 
deemed possible. These two lieu films are respectively 
Agfa Supreme, with twice the speed of conventional super- 
pan emulsions, and Agfa Ultra Speed Pan. with the amaz- 
ing sensitivity of lour times the speed of conventional 
emulsions. 

Expressed in the familiar Weston speed ratings, these 
films have Weston day light speeds ot -1H lor the Supreme 
and 96 tor the Ultra Speed Pan. These ratings, it must 
be mentioned, are approximations, as the Weston 
engineers have not i( s yet published their official ratings 
For the new emulsions, but the ratings quoted have been 
used by the writer with success. 

The remarkable thing about these two m w emulsions 
is that they ale in no sense products of hyposensitization, 
but strictly normal production coatings in every way. 

Equally remarkable is the tact that the tremendous 
increase in speed has been attained with no sacrifice ot 
grain size, contrast, keeping quality, or other normal char- 
asteristics in the ease of the Supreme emulsion, and with 
only a slight alteration in grain size and contrast in the 
case of the yet taster Ultra Speed Pan. A radically new 
discovery in emulsion making technique is responsible for 
this. 

NEW EMULSION TECHNIQUE 

It is well known that the making of photographic 
emulsions is limited by the close inter-relation of such 
characteristics as speed, colour sensitivity, grain-size and 
graininess, contrast and stability- or keeping quality. 

Any advance in any of these must in general be 
limited by the sacrifices in other qualities penniss- 
able under the eondtions of the emulsion's practical appli- 
cation. Thus many of the earliest panchromatic emulsions 
achieved T'.ieir w ider colour sensitivity at the cost of sac- 
rifices ip contrast and other characteristics. 

Similarly, considerable increases in overall speed have 
long been possible under normal emulsion making methods 
or by hypersensitization. but only at the expense of in- 
creased grain, distorted contrast and in many instances 
greatly diminished stability". 

Due to the new methods developed by the Agta- 
Ansco engineers, however, the new emulsions afford their 
increased speed without, as has been said, the necessity 
of such sacrifices. 

CHARACTERISTICS OF SUPREME 

The new Agfa Supreme emulsion is intended as a 
general purpose emulsion for all production uses. To that 
end it supersedes the firm's previous Superpan emulsion, 
which has been withdrawn from manufacture. 

— A mertca a Ci)iemato^raplic > 



May-June, 1938 



THE CIXE-TECHNICIAN 



Camera Script Clerk 

Latest innovation in camera department is the intro- 
duction ot a lighting cameraman's secretary to keep track 
oi all lighting details with a view to simplifying the light- 
ing of re-takes and added scenes 

William H. Daniels. A.S.C.. director oi photography 
during the filming ot M.G.M's. "Marie Antionette," when 
faced with the lighting of some ot the higgest sets ever 
built in this studio, was responsible for this piece of 
pioneering. 

Daniels discusses treatment with associate Leu 
Smith, A.S.C. Lighting is decided. Leu gathers the elec- 
trical crew and lights set while Daniels carries on produc- 
tion scheduled. Lighting completed, photographic test 
made, result studied, modification made, second test 
made., shown to Art Director, Director and Producer for 
their approval of lighting, etc. Camera script clerk pro- 
ceeds to chart the type, position, angle and roughly degree 
of flooding of every lamp as our illustration shows. 



Other important details such as height oi chandeliers 
in shots are recorded. It set is not being used for some 
time, equipment can he used elsewhere. Lighting plot is 
now in black and white. When ready to shoot "gaffer" 
sets lighting to script, putting a G-E here, two Juniors 
there, a string of 24's along here, with perhaps a 10 K.YY. 
or H.I. Arc between. When the set is scheduled, it will 
lie found to he almost perfectly lit. considerably better 
than being merely roughed in. 

< >u the set the secretary keeps detailed notes ot every- 
thing concerning photography, including set-up, camera- 
angle, lens used, in addition to keeping light tests from 
labs, and any other important information useful to the 
camera crew. 

Director Van I tyke, asked for opinion of idea, replied : 
"It's the greatest thing ever. Now we know just where 
we are, and get every detail ot any scene right away, 
without spending half a da\ hunting through miles of film 
in a projection room. What beats me though is why in 
'ell didn't somebody think ot it sooner!" 

— A merican Cinematogr&pher 





Permanent record of lighting data devised by William li. Daniels, J..s.c., ,1/ M.G.M 



32 



THE CINE-TEC H M C 1 A N 



May-June, 



LUMMING AROUND the GLOBE PIGS WILL 
TEMPORARILY TAKES OVER 




I he Street called Straight 



Some two days later, 
therefore, I found myself 
in the shady precincts ol 
Wardour Street in an en- 
deavour to find the real 
people of the him business 
—the people who work if 
they can get it ! Of course, 
I knew where to find 'em, 
and before long 1 was 
attached, as it were, to a 
typical representative of 
this great industry. It 
ne eded no great effort to 
wrap his hoary old hand 
round a glass of old and 
mild, and eventually 1 
persuaded him to talk 
about himself (a most 
difficult task with anyone 
connected with filmsj. 
Here, between your tears. 
ih his glory ; 



My revered and learned 
Iriend, one Pog, still being 
absent (sunning himself. I 
understand, somewhere on 
the shores of the blue 
Mediterranean) the Editor 
has called upon me to take 
over, (ill the breach, or 
otherwise use up this page 
to the best of my 
ability ('.'). My little 
nest on the Sussex Downs 
was invaded by the local 
postman - cum - policeman- 
cutn - porter, who handed 
me ;i vicious-looking enve- 
lope bearing the letters 
ACT. stamped on the nap. 




Received a peculiar "Ja." 




TALE Ol- A LONESOME TIME 

.1 Technician's Story 

Will 1 tell you the tale of my life, Sir, 
H ell, 1 guess there's not much I can say, 
Since the days of the Quotas and Quickies, 
I ain't had so much coming my way. 

But things haven't always been bad, Sir, 
Why, I remember the time long ago > 
[They were showing "The Birth of a Nation") 
When my wage was ten guineas or so. 

ih, those sweet happy days of coiitent, Sir, 
When Englishmen littered the set, 
So I'itches or Bergs on their name, Sir, 
Just Smiths, Browns, or Joneses — you bet. 

Mind, I'm not saying as how its ALL wrong, Sir, 
'Cos if a bloke's really good at his game, 
And PROVE.S himself better than me, Sir, 
I'm the first one to give him a name. 

But a job I was on months ago, Sir, 

In Bucks, if my memory's right, 

When I walked on the set in the morning, 

I saw an astonishing sight. 

Technicians were there by the score, Sir, 
A truly remarkable clan, 

But when they gave me a sound like a raspberry, 
That's how all the trouble began. 

Well it wasn't as bad as all that, Sir, 
You see, being new to the place, 
I hadn't, got used to their language, 
And they hadn't got used to my face. 

It was certainly trying at first, Sir, 

After saying "PARLEZ VOLS}" to the Star. 

To address an important Director, 

And receive a peculiar "J A." 

To be so lonely is not very nice, Sir, 
But in future I think I'll do this, 
Take a course with our friend Mr. Hugo. 
Or study with Mr. Berlitz. 

I'm afraid that's the lot for to-day, Sir, 

Can I tell you no more? — ah alas\ 

What's that}— do I still feel a little bit thirsty? 

Well I never say No — mine's a Bass. 

That's the lot for to-day. So now you both know, 
dear readers, the true state of affairs. I go back to my 
down and birds. You back to the Public Assistance 
Committee. Good luck to thee. 



Thine. 



Lessons with Mr. Berlitz. 



PTGSWILI. 




THE EYEMO IS INDEED VERSATILE . . 

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as three-lens turret, focussing and diaphragm 
controls visible through the spyglass viewfinder, 
interchangeability of auxiliary electric motors, and 
external film magazines, standard S.M.P.E. sound 
aperture, and vibrationless governor assuring 
accurate speeds, make the new Eyemo even more 
perfectly suited to newsreel requirements than the 
popular earlier Eyemo models. 




Small Illustration shows the Eytmo 
fitted with magazines and mottr 
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Inside or outside the studio. The 
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Published by the Proprietors, The Association of Cine-Technicians, 145, Wardour Street, London, W.i., and printed for them 

by The Swindon Press Ltd., Newspaper House, Swindon, Wilts. 




LEIGH AMAN 
BERT CRAIK 
IAN DALRYMPLE 
GEORGE H. ELVIN 
ARTHUR GRAHAM 
STANLEY HAWES 
PIGSWILL 
LOTTE REINIGER 



COLOURED SHADOWS 
FILMING AT THE ZOO 
A SCRIBBLE ON US FILM-SCRIBBLERS 

LESLIE HOWARD ON 
ACTING FOR THE SCREEN 



TECHNICAL EXCELLENCE 



Technical excellence in the finished picture is secured with 
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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 

The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. Telephone: GERRARD 2366. 
Advertisement Offrce: S and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, W.C.I Telephone: HOLBORN 4972 



Volume Four: Number Sixteen JULY — AUGUST, 1938 Price Ninepence 



LESLIE HOWARD 



on 



Acting for the Screen 

The following article is based on our representative's inter- 
view with Mr. Howard on a recent pleasant but hot 
summer's day when a thousand and one different topics 
were discussed. 

THE success or failure of the screen actor depends 
on whether he does or does not appreciate that the 
movie is not a good medium for "acting," as that 
word is understood on the stage. It is not a 
creative outlet for the player to anything like the extent 
of its older rival, and it is quite a mistake to say that 
the technique of the one derives from the other. While 
there are a few examples of artists who have been success- 
ful in both media, that is because they have conformed to 
the stage methods on the stage, and completely ignored 
those methods and adopted others in front of the cameras. 
This great difference is noticeable b\ the way in which 
the two different forms produce a similar emotional re- 
sponse in the audience — but by entirely different means. 
It is quite possible for a play to be performed with the 
actors sitting in armchairs throughout, and for such a 
play to lie emotionally satisfying, but can you imagine 
more than a few hundred feet of such a thing being any- 
thing but an unutterable bore on the screen? The kernel 
of the difference was expressed some years ago by Jacques 
Feyder. the French director, in the words: "On the stage 
the dialogue creates the situation, on the screen the 
dialogue arises out of or is corollary to the situation which 
has been created by action." Dialogue, purely as such, 
is not necessary to the movie, because the movie is not 
a literary expression. 

Consider the proximity of the West End stage to the 
London Studios. Then remember that Hollywood is 3,000 
miles away from Broadway. Hollywood may use stage 
actors, but it moulds them to its own purpose. Many Eng- 
lish actors merely condescend to appear on the screen, and 
the condescension is obvious on every frame. They bring 
(and this applies particularly to the younger generation) 
the West End tradition of good manners to such an ovt«>nt 




that they are better mannered than any well bred person 
ever ought to be. Or, in lower-class parts, they swing to 
the opposite extreme so that, for example, their Cockneys 
are neither good Cockneys nor even good caricatures. 
The same misfortune applies to the average British pro- 
ducer, scenarist and director — they are dominated by the 
stage. Hollywood respect the stage, but treats it at best 
as only on an equal footing. The British director does 
not seem to have the same quick perception on the set 
of the movie faults of his artists, or, if he does, he seems 
to be less able to correct them. The British producer 
and scenarist are content to photograph a stage play ; in 
America the play is adapted to the vastly different de- 
mands of the movie medium. In adapting a novel to play 
form, you would not have simply a narrator appear on the 
stage and read several selected portions of the novel. Yet 
that is analogous to the method of screen adaptations in 
this country. Why make a good or a big-name piny into 
a poor movie? You only throw away the goodness of the 
play, and the lug name of the playwright becomes value- 
less, even as publicity. 

It is possible that the secret of Hollywood's success 
lies in the fact that the cinema is pre-eminently America's 
method of self-expression. She has no monopoly of screen 
methods, and it is open to other countries to copy her if 
they wish. But slavish copies are notorious failures. They 
lack the spontaneity and zest of original creation. Think 
of the different ways in which France, Germany and 
Russia have developed their own movie-technique, our 
only analogy here being those often-times excellent little 
documentaries. In most of them the acting as such is 
amateurish and camera-shy, but every now and then one 
is conscious of a ravishing gem of realism or near-realism. 



81 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Jul,) -August, 1988 



a spontaneous reaction which is just right for the movie, 
or, in the words of John Grierson. an action that time 
has worn smooth. From this origin may eventually spring 
England's special contribution to the commercial cinema, 
as I am sure that, despite the handicap of stage tradition 
which hedges it around to-day, a real "movie" method 
which is recognisably English can be developed by English 
technicians. 

The American cinema is a growth of American 
consciousness. It is not international . The fact that Holly- 
wood is full of European names is merely symptomatic of 
the absorption of other nationals by America as a whole, 
a facet of America's history in the making. It is not a proof 
that you must have oilier nationals to make good pictures. 
The films themselves are 100% American. 

England can do the same as America has done 
Already it is true to say that her technical staff is as 
advanced in movie methods as Hollywood, and its artists 
could easily become so. Why, Hollywood itself is cramful 
of English people who have very quickly absorbed the 
traditions of movie acting and who have been enormously 
successful. The\ have been "themselves'* on the screen 
rather than consciously acting a part, which leads to the 
well-worn cliche that the problem of good film acting is 
one of good casting. To the producer who has to think 
of his budget it is obviously safer to use an artist who 
has proved successful in a certain role, and who is certain 
to be equally successful again in the same role, than to 
run to costly experiments and try out someone who may 
be a flop. Two danger points should be noted in this 
connection — over-acting and under-acting. I saw an Eng- 




Anthony Asquith, A.C.T. President, directing Leslie Howard 
and Wendy Ililler. 



lish picture recently in which the latter technique was em- 
ployed to give an impression of realism, but it was such 
exaggerated under-acting that the result was dull and bor- 
ing. Over-acting in itself is not quite so dangerous. And, 
in the purely movie sense, it is only a flamboyant type of 
expression which is actually native to the movie, and 
does not, as main people imagine, derive from the stage. 
The Barrymores are a case in point, particularly John, 
who on the stage was never a character actor but always 
played straight parts. 

The lack of any very long-established tradition, and 
the fact that films tend to favour type casting, has many 
advantages. Primarily it gives to American pictures a 
feeling of sincerity in the players that you rarely get 
elsewhere, except, as 1 have said, in rare moments in 
English documentaries. The English film is a set piece 
consciously acted, the American is an hour and a half of 
realism and drama accidentally caught by a camera. And, 
although the basis of the story may not bear inspection 
two minutes after it is over, at least during the time 
it is l imning you have the impression that you are seeing 
real people in a real setting. 

Nor can one ignore the background of many of the 
actors and executives themselves. -Most ot the latter are 
men of quite humble, even East Side, origins, with little 
or no pretensions to education as such. Maybe just for 
that reason they are more on the common level of the 
man who sees the films, and in so much the better posi- 
tion to assess the common level of mass appreciation. 
Similarly with the artists.' Most of them are the common 
man's idea of what such characters should be, and if 
Joan Craw lord plays the part of a real lady it is the house- 
maid's or the shop assistant's conception of the lady she 
herself would be in such circumstances, while it is possible 
that an English interpretation of the same part might 
be truer to actual life, but give an impression of the ultra- 
refined Lady that she would certainly not like to be. 

1 do not mean by this that every part should be 
played only on a moronic conception of it. that technique 
should never try to be intentionally highbrow, or that 
dialogue previously mentioned should be eliminated. On 
the contrary, 1 am all for every advancement in technique 
that can be brought to the assistance of the film medium. 
Take the question of. say. the stage soliloquy, with which 
I am very anxious to experiment on the screen. I be- 
lieve it is possible to go still further with the spoken 
thought idea even than "Strange Interval." I would 
like to tackle one of Shakespeare's characters in this man- 
ner, particularly one oi the characters much given to the 
habit of soliloquising such as Hamlet or Macbeth. It is 
my firm conviction that even greater significance could 
be given to the psychological working of their minds by 
genuine movie methods than is possible on the stage. 
For example, take the scene in Macbeth where, right at 
the height of the drama, it is announced to Macbeth that 
"The queen, my lord, is dead." Macbeth replies: — 
She should have died hereafter. 
There would have been a time for such a word. 
To-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow 
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, 
To the last syllable of recorded time. 
Ayid all our yesterdays hare lighted fools 
The way to dusty death. Out, out. brief candle; 
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player 
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage 
And then is heard no more; it is a tale 
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury 
Signifying nothing. 

(Conti)iucd at foot of next page) 



July-August, 1938 



THE 



(' 1 N E-T ECHX I (' 1 A N 



35 



A SCRIBBLE ON US FILM-SCRIBBLERS 

By IAN DALRYMPLE 



ONCE upon a time there was a British film that was 
highly praised hy the Press : and lor once the Press 
was right. Now. the praise was allocated to the 
Director ol the film and he was generally hailed 
as a "coming young man," though he isn't exactly a hoy 
and had been going in various capacities for more than 
somewhat. 

Anyway, all this adulation of someone else went to 
the head of a certain charming and talented screen- 
writer, who promptly took up his typewriter and wrote 
a letter to the Daily Intelligentsia, couched in well-chosen 
phrases ol refined pain, and pointing out that the Director 
couldn't help having made a film of merit, because him- 
self and his colleagues had written such a magnificent 
script. The writer felt strongly that the authors were 
much cominger young men than the Director and should 
have been awarded the ballyhoo. Well, maybe they 
are : what of it? In my view, again the Press was right. 

Even in the British film industry (I use the epithet 
loosely, to describe the adventures in Motion Picnics that 
happen to be conducted in the United Kingdom) there 
are film executives, or, shall we say, there is. we under- 
stand, one film executive, who realises that a good script 
cannot gravely incommode, at least, the making of a good 
film. I have to say. as a loyal member of my profession, 
that 1 am in agreement with this: but I claim with equal 
conviction that the script writer is of no consequence 
whatever. 

The Producer is the creative artist of a film : or some- 
times the Director: or, more rarely, the Cameraman: 
conceivably, the Cutter: but never the Writer. If a script- 
writer were a creative artist, he shouldn't be writing 
scripts : because, a good script-writer is nothing more nor 

ACTING FOR THE SCREEN 

(continued from previous page) 
In this speech his whole spoken reply to the announce- 
ment is really contained in the first two lines, the rest 
only shows that the total effect ot hearing of Lady Mac- 
beth's death is to produce from him a dissertation on the 
fickleness of life. My conception of this scene would be 
to have the first two lines actually spoken by Macbeth in 
fairly close shot, then cut back to a big long shot showing 
the actor in a large hall, and as he goes out the voice 
would be heard but the lips would be (dosed. Macbeth by 
his actions would shotv what he was thinking, and thai 
is the main function of movie — to be a visual medium. 

When all is said and done, the part of the movie that 
interests me most is the only part that is really creative, 
that of the producer, or better still the producer-director 
in one. The stage artist can be creative, but screen acting 
is mainly utilitarian. It is the accumulation of all the 
little bits of realism or apparent realism put together in 
the most significant order that makes the movie what it 
it. Next to the producer, the cutter is the most important 
"artist" in the creation of a film and it is to these two 
people that we must look for the development of the 
appeal of the film. Universality of appeal may not in 
itself be a virtue, but it remains an enormous commercial 
asset. 

(Stills accompanying this article by Eugene Pizey from 
the Pascal prod net ion , "Pygmalion.") 



less, and should be nothing more nor less, to the Producer 
and Director than the indispensable Hunter is to that 
great artist ot elucidation, Lord Wimsey. Creatively, the 
script-writer is the perfect servant : but it a perfect ser- 
vant starts writing to the Press, protesting, lor instance, 
that the paragraph allotted to his master in Mr. G-od- 
with-the-Winnd's page should rightly have dealt with 
himself, then decency is indeed gone from the world and 
the servant of perfection is bogus. 

If a script-writer fancies himself as a cosmic force, 
as a creative artist, as a phenomenon to set the critics 
capering, then I repeat that he shouldn't be writing 
scripts. He should let go of Mama Film Industry's skirts 
and recite his piece all by himself in the middle of the 
room, where the audience can shy the furniture at him. 
Let him write a novel or a play, or serve up a whoreson 
stylish whimsy-whamsy dish of Lamb rechauffe for the 
Weekly Bumptious : or even tangle together a few strings 
of those pathological sausages that pass for poems in these 
days : and let him leave the concoction of screen-material 
to us little, obscure, gag-situation-bright-line merchants, 
who have the face to call ourselves writers and make 
ourselves members of the Incorporated Society of 
W hatnots, Whatnots and Whatnots. 

Putting it! at its highest, the motion picture is a 
method of presenting the dramatic conceptions of the 
fanciful before the widest attainable audience. It is 
simply a method of staging, created by and suitable to 
modern urban civilisation. A play may be staged that 
is a work of art : the staging may be artistic : but the 
staging-ol-the-play is not a work ol art. A play or book 
may be filmed that is a w ork of art : the film may have 
its artistic aspects: but it isn't in itself a work ot art. At 
any rate, the script certainly isn't: being a bundle of 
extensive notes for a composition in celluloid. Therefore, 
the script-writer isn't an artist, he's just a skilled artisan : 
and the artisan may be the salt of the modern earth, 
hut he's by no means the vital force that sets it spinning. 

Examine the script-writer's duties, and, in this con- 
ne< timi. we needn't trouble ourselves with the "Original, " 
as being so unusual as to be manna from heaven rather 
than daily bread from the baker. He is handed a boo]; 
or a play. He reads it and assesses its film-values accord- 
ing to his opinion, probably planning a line of attack 
as he drops off to sleep that night, or fights the daily 
duel with himself in the morning with razor for one 
and iodine for a hundred. He keeps an appointment with 
the Producer who, in due course, renders his own idea 
ot the treatment in the form of a concerto with an 
accompanying orchestra of interruptors, human and 
electrical. In a brisk opening passage, the solo performer 
shatters the writer's enthusiastic conception to fragments : 
the orchestra intervenes with a magnificent contrapuntal 
passage, during which the writer attempts to reassemble 
the fragments, play the man, and turn the subsequent 
performance into a double-concerto. But it won't do at 
all : the result is a bedlam of discords. 

No, no : we must change our metaphor and the script- 
writer his attitude. Not only must lu- interpret the in- 
tention of the novelist or dramatist in the language of 
thi' films: he must translate that intention after its ex- 

(Continued on page 37) 



36 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



July-August. 1988 




COLOURED 
SHADOWS 



From "The King's Breakfast," a recent Reiniger film. 

Lotte Reiniger's name is practically synonymous with the 
silhouette film. She has made twenty-five of them and 
many have been shown bv The Film Society. She de- 
signs all her own backgrounds and figures, cuts them 
out, ji>ints them, manipulates them, photographs them, 
and assembles the completed film. She is also one of 
the most charming people zee have ever met. — Editors. 

AS my technique is very simple, there is very little 
to say about it, but it may be ot some interest 
to talk about the artistic reasons which made me 
take up silhouettes. 
1 am deeply convinced that the art of film is an art 
of movement, and as far as I can remember all the great 
successes were those films in which this quality of move- 
ment came out at its best, whether there was a great 
artist moving himself through the picture in a sur- 
prising way, like Chaplin, or whether the screen 
motion was obtained by a powerful use of montage, 
as in the Russian films, or whether the movements ot 
nature were observed and transferred truthfully and con- 
vincingly to the screen, as in the great documentaries, or 
whether the artificial process of making drawings dance 
and move was developed by an artist to a striking 
rhythm of his own, such as Walt Disney. 

It has always been this fantastic possibility of creat- 
ing a new motion which has given me the greatest pleasure 
in my work. I first wanted intensely to become an 
actress, but I found 1 was tar more gifted at cutting 
silhouettes w ith scissors ! This period was a peak one for 
fantastic experiment in Germany. Due to inflation, money 
was worth nothing, and the commercial people were occa- 
sionally ready to give an artist a chance, since the cash 
lost its value each day anyhow. So I joined a group 
of artists, and together we made all sorts of experiments 
for trick films. They persuaded me to put my silhouettes, 
which by this time had achieved a small fame for their 
expressiveness, on the screen in the same way as a de- 
signer would produce his drawings. 

I constructed very articulated little figures, cut out 
of cardboard and lead, laid them out on a glass table, lit 
them from underneath, and photographed them from 
above, altering their position frame by frame. The back- 
grounds for these small actors were of transparent paper, 
also cut out with scissors, so that they had their own 
worlds, all linked by the same style. 

In the days of silent films I always looked for a 
suitable story first, usually a fantastic, one, which could 
be told in a straightforward way, and amused myself 
in adorning it with movement, more elaborate decors, light 
effects and all sorts of experiments for background motion. 



by 



LOTTE REINIGER 



M\ most violent outburst in that direction was a full- 
length silhouette film on the Arabian Nights - "The 
Adventures of Prince Achmed" — made in 1923-20. For 
this film I collaborated with the best German trick film 
artists. Waller Ruttman and Berthold Bartosch. A 
musical score was written before the production was 
finished, and various of the scenes played to fit the score. 

As these films were almost a one man job. they were 
cheap to produce and 1 could work happily in my own 
way. 

With the arrival of sound the problem became more 
severe, as costs were increasing and the films had to make 
more mone\ to be worth doing. The style had to be 
altered too. Where I formerly looked for a story. I now 
look for music. Where I formerly thought of funny hap- 




Reverse side of silhouette figure ("Aladdin") used in 
"Prince Achmed," showing detailed articulation of the joints. 



July-August, 1938 



THE 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



37 



penings. I now think of movements, more as a ballet 
master thinks in arranging his dances. And now, just as. 
after a couple of years of hard work, I seem to have 
achieved a good control ot that technique, the surprising 
ways of film production have prepared another change for 
me, the arrival of colour. And I am beginning to experi- 
ment once again. 1 can't say much about the results; 
they will, 1 hope, appear in my first colour film, which 1 
am doing soon. 

What I am after is to invent, as 1 did for the sil- 
houettes with a transparent background, a background 
of coloured light. For the first film my figures will be 
partly silhouettes, partly luminous white ones, played 
against a very simple scheme of colours. To my surprise, 
1 find that colour adds a certain plasticity to the figures, 
so that their movement needs a quite different approach. 
Also the construction of the figures, as they will be trans- 
parent, has to be worked out anew. Although this all 
means much more work, the more I proceed the more de- 
lighted I am with the j:>ossibhties I see in this new medium. 

1 received most of my inspiration for this work from 
watching the Greek shadow theatres. In Greece, the 
shadow theatre is a popular entertainment, even consi- 
dered to be "low." They play with coloured figures, cut 
out of parchment, and in the exciting movements of the 
play they underline their climax with magnesium lights — 
red light for the happy ending, green light for eerie events 
— and these are the moments where the audience bursts 
into applause. 

US FILM SCRIBBLERS 

(Continued from page 35) 
pression in the argot of the producer. He should con- 
scientiously retain as much of the characterisation, as 
many of the situations, as fair a condensation of the 
dialogue of the original author's, as is leasible : but, and 
this is the most difficult task of all. he must know not 
only what to omit, but to' re-draw what absolutely and 
*:gain conscientiously can be better expressed by other 
scenes, other incidents, other situations, other characters, 
different lines — and, in the process, produce a fair and 
accurate, and probably infinitely more effective, inter- 
pretation ot the author's intention than the man's own 
original, fie must do all this and yet make it conform 
with the Producer's showman's-vision of the subject. 

Please himself , if he can : certainly he must satisfy 
the Producer. That achieved, and a warm emotion of 
mutual understanding and even friendship and regard 
having been generated, all blows sky-high with the 
appointment of the Director, who sees everything some 
other way. and must have it so. and rightly, for 
he alone really sees it as others will see it. For a script 
may be brilliant and provocative of brilliance in others: 
but. in itself, it will be meaningless. A writer may 
visualise every movement of every scene in his mind: but 
create it he cannot without possessing the peculiar gifts 
of the Director. We have seen what "brilliant" writers 
make of their own "brilliant" scripts when they have 
snatched the Director's chair for themselves. No, it is 
the Director who "makes" the screen-writer, not the 
reverse: and the "writer" should recognise that fact and 
learn humility. 

So, let us get the function and competence of the 
script-writer straight. He interprets, he translates, he 
solves problems, has a neat idea once in a while, writes 
in any style to order, thinks out gag9. gets the last ounce 
(Continued at foot ot next column) 



LESS HOURS -MORE QUALITY 

INTERESTING comments on the effects of the ne» 
labour laws and the fluctuating rates of exchange on 
French film production are given by M. Pierre Autre 
in "La Cinematographic Franeaise." 
The higher cost of living and the application of the 
new labour regulations, including a 40-hour week in the 
studio, has resulted in the cost of production rising by 
about 40%. The average cost of a French film now ap- 
proaches 1\ to 3 million francs (approximately £14,000 to 
£17,000). 't hese prices are still below the cost of the 
majority of American and British productions, but 
M. Autre points out that in view of the limited market 
the financing of French films is not easy. The position 
is further aggravated by the difficulties in Central Europe 
as regards the exporting of money, quota, and film regu- 
lations generally. The best markets for French films are 
South America, Scandinavia. Holland and the Balkan 
countries, besides French-speaking countries such as Bel- 
gium, Switzerland and Canada. Only recently have Eng- 
lish speaking territories such as U.S.A., Great Britain 
and the Dominions begun to receive many of the best 
French fibrin. 

Another difficulty experienced by French production 
is the supply of capital. About one-third of the 1937 pro- 
duction was backed by British capital, but the difficulties 
of exchange rates makes continuance of such methods 
impossible. French producers who have received pounds 
sterling from London banks at the rate of 110 francs to 
the ±1 have now to repay their loans at the rate of 
100 francs to the £1. An extra charge of 50 % on the 
cost of production. {Maybe the money earned by British 
financiers in this way lias been one of the contributing 
factors to the increasing difficulties of financing British film 
production. — Editor) . 

In view of these difficulties. French producers have 
not dared to launch such a large number of big productions 
as last year, and it seems likely that French production 
for 1938 will not exceed 7."> films, as compared with 120 
in 1937. But it is difficult to make definite forecasts. 
Everything depends upon the development of events in 
France and Europe generally. M. Autre stresses, how- 
ever, that irrespective of the quantity of production the 
improved quality will continue. 

We have already pointed out in previous issues the 
improvements in French production since the introduction 
ol increased wages, a 40-hour week, other economic im- 
provements lor technicians and workers. While these 
regulations continue in force still further improvements 
can be looked for. 



US FILM SCRIBBLERS 

(continued from previous column) 
from a situation, quickly readjusts himself to new con- 
ceptions, sees with the eyes of others, is a dramatic mid- 
wife, but does not himself conceive nor create, in the pure 
sense. If he can do all this, he's a clevah fellah: and 
Sets the money and the trade-credit he deserves. But 
eulogies in the public press'.' Recognition of his technical 
mastery and keen mind in the public forum? Certainly 
not, he doesn't deserve it. His work is a personal matter 
and the only satisfaction he merits is that he earns h)6 
bread and has done the job expected of him. 

Let us. then, have no more letters to the Press. 
Friends and colleagues, I pray you, let us be "not forward, 
but modest as the dove : . . . not hot. but temperate as 
the morn. 



38 



N E -TEC II N I C I A N 



July-August, 1938 



LEIGH AMAN 

Out Of Leo's Den 

THE Lion foared furiously and then leapt . . . our 
hero felt a sharp blow . . . and found himself in 
the daylight again, out oi the sombre depths oi 
Leo's Den . . . Returning hastih t<> England, be 
lived happily ever alter. 

Hut perhaps 1 exaggerate a little— it's not really 
as had as that, though there is somewhat oi a depression 
on in the American picture business. Lining the months 

of February and March one major studio relieved itself oi 
1 ,500 of its employ ees. We were told that this was purely 
a seasonal layofl and that we would he working again in 
two or three months. Hut there was a different story 
circulating which sounded almost absurd enough to he 
true. In Hollywood, as in England, the "friends and 
relations" racket is practiced to a very large extent— so 
large in tact that there ale frequently waiting lists of 
more than odd all, oi course, relations and triends of 
equally important producers. Jobs must he found hut 
how'.' Obviously the producers and executives could not 
tire themselves — so all the second assistants, office boys, 
secretaries, assistant c utters, etc.. have to go. Thus Uie 
so-called seasonal layoff is a. permanent loss of joh and 
the vacancies are easily rilled. As long as they remain 
in work for about a year their friends are usually satisfied, 
and so it goes on— a vicious circle. In England it isn't 
quite such an organised racket yet, hut they will soon 
get wisr to it. 

Coming hack to England — "from depression to 
depression" as it were, seems to suggest some kind of 



On His Ear 



comparison between the two industries. We must re- 
tnember first that Hollywood's idea ol a depression is hav- 
ing only 30 pictures in production at one time, which was 
about the lowest reached. And anyway, there is so much 
money around that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish 
between a depression and a boom ! 

One thing 1 noticed in Holly wood production was 
their lack o! documentaries. As tar as 1 could ascertain, 
only one documentary with government hacking has been 
mad< — "The River"— a film dealing with the Mississipi. 
and that was made in W ashington — not Hollywood. Our 
own G.P.O. film unit seems to he far ahead in this line. 

Technical equipment is worth discussing. Our equip- 
ment is modern and up to date, but we have not a large 
enough quantity or variety. One advantage oi all Holly- 
wood set equipment is its silence in operation — a point 
I am sure the recordist will appreciate. Wind machines, 
for instance, which are kept running throughout nearly- 
all exteriors in the studio, are completely silent. Usually 
the actual machine is tucked away in a corner of the 
stage and the air current is carried through a large canvas 
tube to wherever it is required. The tube is about two 

leet in diameter and is easily movable without touching 
the machine. Other useful machines which 1 have not 
seen over here are treadmills used for back projection 
shots ol people walking; and wheel machines — a series of 
eight rollers in pairs tor keeping the wheels of carts and 
carriages at an equal and constant speed, also in hack 
projection shots. These also are silent. 




M.G.M. Studios, Hollywood. 



July-August, 1938 



T H E (' 1 X E-T E (' II NIC IAN 



39 



Some of the process shots in "Test Pilot" are in- 
teresting. For the sequence, towards the beginning, of the 
racing plane crossing mountains in a snow storm, a 
machine was built suspending the plane and enabling it 
to turn and twist in every direction. Behind was the 
back projection screen. Underneath the plane, a power- 
ful blow-torch for the exhaust. Three large aeroplane- 
propellor wind machines and two machines which chopped 
up great blocks of ice and fed them at enormous pressure 
through hoses as snow. Then the camera mounted on a 
mobile -lift tower kept continually in motion with steam 
jets just in front of the lens for cloud effects. Incidentally 
this scene was shot silent. Another interesting sequence 
was the race in which miniatures were combined with 
full size planes. First the background shot on the actual 
location. This was back projected behind two miniature 
danes on wires — complete with torch batteries to revolve 
propellers. This entire shot was processed and again used 
as back projection for the full size plane, thus getting 
the required proportions. 

A point of interest to sound departments may be the 
method adopted by M.G.M. (and 1 think only M.G.M.) 
On the sound film is recorded two separate single width 
tracks, one negative to the other — the two taking up less 
than half the width of the film (see illustration). "When 
these tracks are finally printed as one, any blemish which 
may have occurred on one side is eliminated by the photo- 
graphic opposite. When a reel of film has been recorded, 
it is turned round and the other side used. In processing, 
it is split down the centre, forming two 17J m.m. strips. 
Thus an economy in film is achieved as well as doubly 
efficient recording. 

Now, regarding expenditure. Hollywood of course is 



primarily concerned with making money, in spite of what 
they publish to the contrary. True, some producers are 
trying to make 2,000,000 dollar productions that are finan- 




cially successful, but so far few have succeeded. After 
a great deal of experiment, most of the major studios have 
discovered that "B" pictures — that is pictures without a 
(Continued at foot of next page) 




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40 



T H E 



C 1 N K - T EC II M (J I A N 



July-August. 1938 



DUPLICATE NEGATIVES IN MOTION 
PICTURE PRODUCTION by 



MA^sY more duplicate negatives are being used in 
film production than heretofore. This is mainly 
due to the larger number of optical effects and 
library shots which go to make up a full length 
picture. In addition, complete dupe. negs. are made from 
many full length features and shorts, and used by foreign 
countries to print off their own release copies. Because 
of this demand many duplicating emulsions are being 
placed on the market to cope with this specialised work. 

It is not my object to comment on the various quali- 
fications of the different manufacturers' duplicating emul- 
sions. It is sufficient to state that great advancement 
has been made during the past few years in the manu- 
facture of these. Consequently, there seems little chance 
of further outstanding improvement until such time as the 
intermediate process of making a master positive has been 
eliminated. This would mean that duplicate negatives 
could be produced direct from originals by reversal, with 
a definite gain in quality and a reduction in the margin 
of error due to the intermediate process. Experiments 
have already been conducted along these lines in still 
photography, but the speed of the emulsion used is much 
too slow at the moment to make it practical for motion 
picture work. 

Graininess and its Relation to Duplicate Negatives 

On the following factors depend the graininess of the 
duplicate negative : — 

1. — The amount of grain present in the original 

negative. 

2. — The quality of the duplicating emulsions used. 

3. — The composition of the developer. 

4. — The time of development. 

Present-day original negatives are very free from 
grain, except in the case of scenes with a large area of 
deium density, and lacking in detail, such as sky and 
misty scenes. 



OUT OF LEO'S DEN 

(Continued from previous page) 

top rank star, or director, are sometimes very useful stand- 
bys and money makers — as long as they have good stories. 
It may easily happen that an "A" picture with one or 
more stars may turn out not so good. With its average 
£200.000 budget, this is liable to cause a serious loss. So 
Darvll Zanuck, one; of the cleverest "business producers" 
evolved the "series" pictures — now being copied by other 
studios. These pictures usually concern a family or char- 
acter — the "Jones Family," "Charlie Chan," etc., and 
may cost as little as £50,000, though they usually run at 
about £80,000! It will be seen that there is an economy 
in sets. The sets comprising the family's house are left 
standing permanently and not even re-vamping is 
necessary. 

With these words, I must beg to excuse myself, as 
I seem to be in danger of falling between two lions! I 
hope I have not seemed too enthusiastic about Hollywood. 
Boiling it all down, I suppose the real reason for Holly- 
wood's superiority is the enormous amount of money in 
circulation. But then, since 00 per cent of the world's 
gold is buried in the hills of Kentucky, what are we to do? 




Graniness is caused by the siiver halides in the emul- 
sion layer clumping together as they turn into metallic 
silver during development, it is these grain dumps which 
we see on the screen. The faster the speed of an emul- 
sion, the more silver is used in its composition, and the 
thicker the emulsion layer, consequently the coarser the 
grain. The thinner the emulsion layer, the finer the grain, 
and the better the resolving power (ability to render fine 
detail), since the light does not have to penetrate so far 
and therefore is prevented from "spreading" due to the 
semi-opacity of the emulsion itself. Because of the special 
advantages of slow emulsions, the loss of speed, provided 
it is within reason is no serious drawback in duplicate 
negative processing. 

The type of developer used also plays an important 
part in the quality and amount of grain in the duplicate 
negative. There are numerous fine grain developing 
formulae available, but practical experience has proved 
that metol-hydroquinone-borax developers similar to the 
Kodak D76 are best, in that they do not lower the effec- 
tive emulsion speed. 

Time of development also governs the size of the grain 
clumps. We all know that as development increases, so 
also does the contrast of the developed image. This is 
because those parts of the emulsion which have received 
sufficient exposure continue developing, whilst those that 
haven't will go so far and no further; consequently, the 
degree of density between the highlights and shadows 
increases with development. Now in order that density 
may increase, the silver grains clump together more and 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



II 



more as development continues, and the more they clump 
the coarser becomes the grain. 
Sensitometric Control. 

The next factor in producing good duplicate negatives 
is that of gradation or contrast. As a rule, the contrast 
existing in the original negative is aimed at, and in optical 
work, where the duplicate negatives are cut in with 
original portions of the same scene, this is absolutely 
essential. In fact it is even more important than fine 
grain, because a change in contrast is more noticeable 
than' coarser grain. 

Under modern laboratory processing conditions, sen- 
sitometric control plays an important part in this matter. 
By means of it one is able to keep an eye on the master 
positive and duplicate negative. Theoretically an overall 
gamma of 1 should produce a duplicate negative having 
a contrast identical to the original from which it was 
made. In practice, however, a deduction of about 10% 
to 15% is made to allow for printer and projection losses. 
The overall gamma is the product of the gammas of the 
master positive and the duplicate negative and there we 
rely on the manufacturers' instructions for guidance. For 
example, the Kodak Fine Grain Duplicating Positive Film 
should be developed to a gamma of between 1.1 and 1.3 
and their Fine Grain Duplicating Negative to a gamma 
of between .6 and .7. 
Cleanliness 

If all the foregoing conditions have been observed in 
the production of your duplicate negatives, and that of 
cleanliness has been neglected, you have simply been 
wasting your time. The neglect of it means there will 
be a crop of dust and chemical spots on the master posi- 
tive. These will be photographed in the duplicate negative, 
and more will certainly be added. 

The surest way to clean results is to keep everything 
clean. The water supply should be filtered and a water 
softener used if possible. A ( ll developing and fixing baths 
should also be filtered. An air conditioning plant and 
tiled walls make an immense difference; indeed the}' are 
an essential in the modern film laboratory. A negative 
that is to be duplicated should be carefully cleaned with 
methylated spirits and run lightly through a duster, or 
better still through an air suction device mounted with 
camel hair brushes. Finally a compressed air dusting 
device should be applied to the negative just as it is 
entering the gate of the printer. If all these precautions 
are taken you will seldom be troubled with dirt unless 
the operatives neglect to replace filters and fail to keep 
clean the various apparatus used for cleaning ! 
Summary 

In summing up, the factors influencing the produc- 
tion of duplicate negatives are : — 

1. — Quality of the duplicating emulsions used. 

(Continued at foot of next column) 



FILMS COUNCIL 

The personnel of the new Films Council to advise 
the Board of Trade on the administration of the Cinema- 
tograph Films Act has now been announced. 

Readers will remember that one of A. CP's, points 
in its quota campaign was the appointment of representa- 
tives of the employees to this Council. We are glad to 
announce that this clause was incorporated in the Act, 
and Mr. George H. Elvin, Secretary of A.C.T., and Capt. 
A. M. Criekett, Secretary of Film Artistes' Association, 
are the employees' representatives. 

Other representatives are : — 
Trade Representatives : — 

(Representing Makers of British Films) 

Mr. J. Grierson 

Captain the Hon. R. Norton 
(Representing Film Renters) 

Mr. F. W. Baker 

Mr. D. E. Griffiths 
(Representing Film Exhibitors) 

Mr. T. H. Fligelstone 

Mr. A. W. Jarratt 

Mr. A. B. King, C.B.E. 

Mr. C. P. Metcalfe 
Lay Representatives : — 

Sir Frederick Whyte, K. C.S.I. (Chairman) 

Mr. H. C. Bischoff 

Sir Walter Citrine, K.B.E. 

Mr. Philip Guedalla 

Miss F. Horsbrugh, M.B.E., M.P. 

Mr. W. E. Jones 

Mr. W. Leonard, M.P. 

Professor Arnold Plant 

Hon. Eleanor Plumer 

Sir Hugh Seely. Bart., M.P. 

Mr. F. Wilkinson 
Mr. W. H. L. Patterson, of the Board of Trade, 
has been appointed Secretary to the Council, and Mr. L. 
T. Moorby, Assistant Secretary. 



DUPLICATE NEGATIVES 

(continued from previous column) 

'2. — Degree of contrast. 

3. — The composition of the developer. 

4. — Cleanliness. 

If all these factors are given careful consideration as 
detailed in this article, there is no reason why, with 
modern duplicating emulsions, first-class duplicating nega- 
tives should not be turned out by any film processing 
laboratory. 



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T II E C I N E-T E (' II N IC IAN 



.July -August. 1986 



Cinema Log 

by KENNETH GORDON 



Dufaycolcr Coming into its Own 

A large number of successful colour reels are being 
made using the Dutay process. These include Pathe's 

King's \ isit to France, and British National's bravelogues 
in [reland (filmed In ace cameraman Bryan Langley, who 
is now in Scotland filming location shots tor "The Kej 

Above the Door.") Several more feature films are to be 
produced, Including "Bob Roy" for Gainsborough. And 
I bear that Elarcourt Pearson Ltd. will make twenty-four 
short story films in Dufaycolor. These films, to be pro- 
duced by Harcourt Tenipleinan, directed h\ George Pear- 
son, and edited by J. Neill- 1 'now n, will include both studio 
and exterior locations, under the photographic direction ot 
that camera artist Ernest Palmer, whose beautiful work 
in "Edge of the World" will long be remembered. By 
the way. slow motion pictures have been taken in Dufay- 
color of Phil Taylor, the world-famous skater, jumping 
through a hoop in the ice spectacle "Switzerland." 

George King also has a line-up ol six picture in Dufay- 
color to be produced at Sound City, where Special equip- 
ment has been installed. The first is "Claude Duval," 
starring Carl Brisson. Location work starts this month 
and the studio sequences are scheduled to Btart on 
August 8th. 

Our Oldest Studio 

In a quiet side street in Walton-on-Thaines stands 
our oldest studio, which has been in continuous produc- 
tion for thirty years. It has been modernised, but still 
stands as a monument to the foresight of Cecil Hep worth. 
Here was first introduced the "dolly" and the motor- 
driven camera. George Smith is now filming "The 
Affairs of Reggie" at Walton, and spending £15,000 on 
the picture to tultil the new Quota regulations. This. 
I am sure, w ill require him to lose a lot of bad economy 
habits. 

Tin's is George's fifty-first film. He states he is 
putting more shooting days and important players into 
the picture so as to spend the t7.. r >()<) labour costs. He 
makes no statement that he will pay more money to 
his technicians. 

The Cinema and Racing 

The Derby and Ascot are two events free from the 
influence of Rota, and they allow newsreelers the oppor- 
tunity to show their true worth. I wonder it those of you 
who viewed the storm pictures in the press following 
the Derby know that the crumbled mass of ironwork de- 
picted in the illustrations had been supporting two camera- 
men a hundred feet above the Epsom crowd a few hours 
before, and high winds later had crashed the tower to 
the ground. Risks must be run. but the luck of Para- 
mount's Gemmell and MacGregor again held. A pleasant 
feature of the Derby was the number of free lances em- 
ployed to supply negs for America, but I do think news- 
reel editors could put more work in their way, because 
competent free lancers are very necessary at times. 
"Lovely Woman" 

A number of technicians are wondering when the 
horse owned by Billy Jeapes. Universal newsreel chief, 
is going to win. 'balking of racing brings me to the close 
alliance between the Turl and Wardour Street. Reg. 
Kemp, the Nottingham exhibitor, has a string of horses 



under trainer Russell at Maplethorpe ; Tom Walls has 
many first-class horses under his training at Epsom, and 
rumour has it thai he burned down a first-class Holly- 
wood offer to be near his horses. How many ot us re- 
member cameraman Harold Jeapes wearing "silk" over 
the sticks, or Warner Bros.' shorts salesman Tommy Inge 
riding "Othering, " Britain's fastest 5-furlong mare, at 
Epsom lor brother Hilly. To-day one of the keenest bet- 
ting syndicates to visit our courses is composed entirely 
o| the cinema industry's " top-notchers. " and from infor- 
mation received, what a "pain in the neck" they are to 
the bookies ! 

Another Little Daughter Won't Do Us Any Harm 

From Hollywood comes news ol the birth of Anita 
Lippcns, daughter ol Cameraman and Mrs. O. H. Borro- 
daile. to whom we tender congratulations. Borrodaile 
w ill be remembered for his excellent camera craft in many 
recent Denham epics. This British technician returned 
to Hollywood during the slump. He holds both A.C.T. 
and A.S.C. membership. We trust he will soon be back 
with us. 

Royal Photographic Society to Leave Russell Square 

The 83rd Annual Exhibition of the R.P.S., from 
September 10th to October 8th. will be the last held at 
Russell Square. Alter that the Royal will move to new- 
premises at 1(3, Princes (Jate. Hyde Park. S.W.7. 

To meet the expenses ot removal an Appeal Commit- 
tee has been formed, a member ot which is A.C.T's. Presi- 
dent, the Hon. Anthony Asquith. Any contributions to 
this great work will be much appreciated, 

For Bo years the R.P.S. has encouraged the advance- 
ment of photography by all means at its disposal. 
ACT. is affiliated to it through the Photographic Alliance, 
and many of our members hold its fellowship and 
associateship. 

Mussolini Muscles Into British Screens 

Secretly shown in London amid much Fascist salut- 
ing. Mussolini's first film using English actors, but made 
in the new Italian studios, was recently shown. 

Entitled "Thirteen Men and a Gun." this picture's 
cast is entirely male and includes Wally Patch, Gibb 
McLaughlin. Allan .leaves. Arthur Wontner, E-oni Craw- 
ford and Donald Grey. The story tells of the plight of 
thirteen men on the Austrian side of the Russian frontier 
during the Great War. accused of espionage. 

This film is the result of the Duce's ambition to shat- 
ter Hollywood by building a gigantic film industry in 
Italy. The verdict seems to be that even our industry 
need have no fear. 

Western Electric Pioneer to be Film Hero 

Yes, the inventor of the telephone, Dr. Alexander 
Graham Bell, born at 10, South Charlotte Street, Edin- 
burgh, Scotland, is to be the hero of a 20th Centurv-Fox 
film epic, "The Life of Dr. Graham Bell." The Doctor 
was the father of Western Electric through the world- 
tamous Bell Telephone laboratories, in which was 
evolved the present sound system. It may be interesting 
to recall that it was in June, 187">. at Boston, where 
Dr. Bell was then experimenting, that the first telephone 
conversation was transmitted from one room to another, 
and the words were "Mr. Watson, come here, I want 
you." Yes, friends, Britain has still first class technicians. 



July-August. 1938 THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



43 



TATLER" HAS A TRY OUT 



A reprint of some notes of "Tatler" in a recent issue of 
The Daily Film Roiter. 

WHICH reminds me — had a try-out the other after- 
noon — in other words, went to a local kinema 
just to see how my hearing reacted. Wasn't so 
bad as it turned out — and I caught most of the 
dialogue — but I'm bound to confess that what I did get 
didn't amount to a great deal. Fact is. you know, when- 
ever you pop in at local kinemas you too often get the 
shock of your life ! House had about sixty people — true 
it was a four o'clock performance — but boy — how they 
put pictures on! They don't — they just chuck them on 
the screen ! 

Nobody about the vestibule as you go in — never see 
the manager — he's too busy making up returns — or rilling 
up forms. No presentation of the picture in any shape or 
form — just, as I say — chucked on. You either have to 
like it, or lump it — and that's why people stay away 
from the kinemas. Fact of the matter is, the reasons 
why exhibitors are not doing too well are twofold — poor 
pictures — and no showmanship! As far as \ can see — 
with some possible exceptions — showmanship seems to 
have entirely gone by the board, and until it comes back 
— and until both renter and exhibitor do their darndest 
to put on a good show — not once but all the time — people 
will just go on staying away. 



It's an unpalatable fact, but there it is. Not m\ 
purpose to preach — but I've been to a few shows in the 
daytime — and in the evening — and what they lack in 
presentation, and what they lack in any attempt to put 
it over to the public — which is precisely the same thing- 
is heartbreaking. In the old days there used to be a 
good deal of showmanship — but now — nobody seems to 
care two hoots about it. Maybe the fact the houses 
are circuit controlled, and the manager in so many cast's 
has nothing whatever to do with the picking of the pro- 
gramme — is in part responsible for it. 

* * * 

But even in different circumstances, the exhibitor 
doesn't strain every nerve to hold patronage — and neither, 
for that matter, does the distributor, who shares in the 
receipts, go very much out of his way to help him. Idea 
seems to be to send the film down with a few posters and 
a Press sheet — and that's that ! Only when both sides 
revise their ideas and get behind their pictures will the 
public come back. At the moment the public are not 
tired of pictures — they're tired of boil pictures. Good 
stuff gets by — and the public can smell the doubtful ones 
—no argument about that! So let that thought remain 
with the industry, when it's talking about a campaign to 
get people back into the theatre. You'll never get them 
back with slogans — you've got to do more than that. 



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April 24th, 1938 

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THE c I N E - T E c H N I C 1 A X 



July-August, L086 



Documentary director 

STANLEY HAWES on 




[By courtesy of The Strand Film Co. Ltd. 

THE great problem in making a series of films in a 
Zoo is to give any sort of impression that the 
animals are in natural surroundings. Plenty of 
films have been made in which the animals have 
been treated frankly as inhabitants of a Zoo. Many of 
these films have been good, but many of them have been 
patronising and condescending, content to get a laugh out 
of the animals' antics, and particularly out of the apparent 
similarity of their actions to those of human beings. 1 
say "apparent" because the reason behind an animal's 
actions usually bears no relation to the reason behind a 
similarity of their actions to those of human beings. I 
of even the most man-like creatures, such as the chim- 
panzees or gorillas, and modern science is concerned more 
with the differences than with the similarities between the 
behaviour of apes and mankind. Besides, animals resent 
being laughed at This is obvious if one watches the re- 
actions of a monkev which is causing amusement to a 



FILMING AT THE ZOO 

crowd of spectators. Unless it is deliberately showing off. 
its discomfort is quite plain. The recent series of films 
made by Strand Films at Regent's Park and W'hipsnade 
have tried to get away lrom this attitude, and to present 
the animals in as natural and as dignified a manner as 
possible. 

The first difficulty is obvious, 'ihe animals are in 
cages, most oi which look like cages and nothing else. 
At W'hipsnade there are paddocks in which the beasts' 
natural habitat is reproduced with tolerable accuracy, and 
this makes the task easier. It is possible to shoot lions 
and tigers prowling through bushes and undergrowth in 
such a way that only the expert botanist can tell that 
tluy are not in their native jungle. At W'hipsnade, too. 
many inoffensive creatures, like wallabies and deer, and 
a number ol birds, are loose in the park, and can be 
shot with appropriate backgrounds. Other animals can 
be brought out ol their cages without much trouble. 
Klephants, young chimpanzees, baby lions, tortoises, and 
other well-disposed creatures, can be put more or less 
where one wants them, though one's troubles are not 
thereby ended, because the difficulty of manoeuvring a 
four-ton elephant into the right position and inducing it 
to stay there long enough to get a shot can be easily 
imagined. Also an animal out of its cage is an animal 
with an unfair advantage, and it is up to the unit to watch 
what it is doing. I once had a small monkey, a great 
favourite with Zoo visitors, brought out of its cage and 
held in its keeper's arms while I took a close-up . It sat 
there perfectly quietly and allowed me to make friendly 
advances until I thought that all was well. Then in my 
first unguarded moment it seized my finger and gave me 
the wickedest bits which I ever hope to receive. I some- 
times pause outside its cage and listen to the people 
saying, "Isn't he a dear little fellow ; ?" 

But the dangerous animals must be shot in their 
cages or not shot at all. There is no hope of a keeper 
consenting to bring a rhinoceros or a gorilla out on to the 
lawn to oblige even the most persuasive director. So it 
is the cage or nowhere. The cages are usually enough 
to turn a cameraman's hair white. Those in the Monkey 
House, for instance, are lined with smooth white tiles, 
very pleasant and hygienic for the monkeys, no doubt, 
but resembling nothing so much in a photograph as the 
interior of a public lavatory. Even when the walls are 
less lavatorial there remain the bars. Bars are the 
cameraman's greatest bugbear, with the possible excep- 
tion of wire netting, which sometimes takes their place. 

There is a cage of gibbons on the lawn at Regent's 
Park. Gibbons are the most graceful of all the monkey 
tribe. Their rhythmic movements as the3" swing along 
are indescribably lovely. But the cage is surrounded 
with wire netting, which prevents shooting from the out- 
side. To enter the cage is to invite all the gibbons to 
jump on you, biting your ears, neck, fingers, and even 
your nose if they can get at it ; and you might as well 
try to anticipate a flash of lightning as a gibbon. So the 
only thing to do is to poke the camera lens through the 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



45 



netting and hope for the best. Panning, which is essen- 
tial to do the gibhons justice, is impossible. Fortunately 
there are gibbons in another Zoo out in the open on a small 
island, and we were able to get an amazing sequence of 
them swinging about in the trees. Other cages present 
the same problem. The cameraman must push his lens 
through the bars and keep his wits about him. Because 
when there is room for a lens to pass through the bars 
there is also room for a gorilla or chimpanzee to put his 
arm out. It is an interesting game, and victory is to the 
swiftest. 

Whatever the conditions of shooting, one thing is 
indispensable — patience. After a tew weeks of working 



to be helpful. The more intelligent they are, the less 
likely they are to do what you want. Monkeys, for in- 
stance, realise that something unusual is going on the 
moment they see a camera being set up, and are far more 
interested in watching what the cameraman is doing than 
in getting on with their own business. When they do get 
on with their own affairs they an' usually unshootable. If 
chimpanzees don't like the look of things they spit. And 
how they spit ! There is one at Regent's Park who w ill 
sit quietly at the hack of his cage and spit without moving 
a muscle. And he gets the cameraman's eve nine times 
out of ten. The reptiles, with no brains to speak of, arc 




with animals a director or cameraman reaches that sub- 
lime state of indifference to time and the external world 
which it takes the Buddhist a Lifetime to attain. The 
animals may be doing just what you want them to do; 
they may have been doing it for hours; hut the moment 
you set up a camera they decide they've had enough for 
to-day. There is nothing for it but to wait. You can 
swear at them till you're blue in the lace, but they know 
very well there is no pay-off at the end of the day, and 
thev see no reason whv thev should go out of their wav 



[Photograph by W. Sitschitzky 

the easiest from some points of view. They remain 
immobile for hours on end, and there is plenty of time to 
get a shot lined up, although when it is taken it is apt to 
suffer from lack of action. 

But when animals finally do their stuff they are grand 
actors — completely unselfconscious and able to do the 
right tiling in the right way. They provide their own 
humour and they have their own dignity. A good batch 
of Zoo rushes is worth all the time and trouble spent 
in getting them. 



THE BELL & HOWELL COMPANY LTD., inform 
us that they have been appointed exclusive selling 
agents for the United Kingdom and Europe, for 
the 16mm. Sound Films of Commonwealth Pictures 
Corporation of New York. 



These 16mm. Sound Films are six, seven and eight- 
reel Features, consisting of melodramas, society dramas, 
westerns, etc., and are all optical reduction prints of the 
highest quality, specially processed so as to add to the life 
of the film. The first list contains fifteen titles, available 
for outright purchase at £5 per reel to approved dealers. 



IB THE CINE - TECHNICIAN July-August, 1088 

A NEW MICROPHONE 



THE new condenser microphone Type R.K.2 (mar- 
keted by Films and Equipments Ltd.) has, il is 
claimed, properties hitherto not possessed by this 
type of instrument. In principle the new type is 
similar to an earlier model, which lias been used very 
successfully in sound studios during the last few years, 
but numerous modifications have been made to bring the 
performance up to the extremely high standard now 
demanded. 

All condenser microphones have hitherto been of Bueh 
a si/.e that different polar diagrams are given at different 
frequencies. The result has been to limit the range ol 
action of the microphone to a comparatively narrow angle, 
and as reverberation effects come from widely different 
angles, these were not given their true colour. 

The only effective way to overcome this defect is to 
reduce the size of the microphone to such a value that 
any such frequency-favouring effect is removed to as high 
a frequency as possible. The difficulty remained to re- 
tain the sensitivity and high signal-to-ground noise ratio 
given by the earlier model. 

The new model is the result of investigation over 18 
months. This mode] exhibits a polar diagram independent 
of frequency up to 5,500 cycles and very little disturbance 
up to 8,000 cycles. Its sensitivity is the same as the 
earlier model and the signal-to-ground noise ratio is smal- 
ler by 4db. at the most, an amount which can be dis- 
regarded in view of the very high ratio in the earlier 
instrument. 

The low excitation voltage of the earlier model has 
been maintained and, owing to the very small size of 
the diaphragm (A- in. diameter), breakage and leakage 
troubles have been still further minimised. 

To reduce stray capacities and leakage, an ingenious 
scheme of mounting the microphone transmitter on the 
grid terminal of the A. 537 valve has been adopted, the 
small size and weight of the transmitter making this 
possible. 

The capacity of leads has by this means been re- 
duced ; a highly insulated support is provided and trouble 
from condensation reduced by the warmth of the valve. 

It has been found that only the valve and grid leaks 
in addition to the microphone need be contained in the 
microphone case itself, so that the size and weight of this 
member has been greatly reduced. The total weight of 
the unit complete with valve, microphone transmitter and 
protecting wire gauze cage is 10 ozs. 

As a general practice the valve and microphone are 
fed from a small battery box at the end of a 30-ft. thin 
flexible screen 5-core cable. In the battery box is mounted 
a feed resistance for the valve and transformer transform- 
ing to a 200-ohm line. From the battery box a strong 2-core 
cable can be carried over the floor. Other arrangements 
can be provided for, as and when required. 

The response curve of the microphone has been 
examined by a number of methods. The electrostatic- 
method, in which an electric force is applied to the 
diaphragm from a grill placed near the diaphragm, gives 
the response curve indicated in the attached figure, and 
there is every indication that this is in the main followed 
from most angles of sound wave attack. 

The pressure rise at 8,000 cycles shown in the elec- 
trostatic calibration curve may, if desired, be shunted out 



in the; amplifier, but so far this has not been found to be 
a serious defect, as most recording and reproducing 
apparatus tends in the opposite direction. 

It should be noted that when this microphone is 
used lor film work, a film loss correction exactly similar 
to that used in re-recording should be used in the ampli- 
fier. A large number of recordings taken with many 
voices substantiates this. 

The bass response of the microphone down to 50 
cycles is excellent, the maximum loss at 50 cycles being 
only about 4db. This bass response is very clean and 
free from detects due to corrected resonance characteris- 
tics — such as that shown by ribbon microphones. Re- 
sponse as low as 25 cycles has been taken, and the loss 
here is not more than 8 db. 

In fib 1 1 work, as the microphone has negligible loss 
at low frequencies, bass cuts must bo inserted in the 
amplifier when the voice is being recorded. This is 
probabh mainly due to the fact that the reproduction 
is always much louder than one ever hears a human voice. 
It has been found that an amplifier curve dropping slowly 
from 1,000 cycles to about db. at 100 cycles is approxi- 
mately correct, but a few trials directly through the 
microphone to audition loudspeakers will indicate the 
best value. There is no exact theoretical basis for the 
amount of bass cut necessary. The makers are of the 
opinion that bass cut should also be used, perhaps to a 
lesser degree, for voice transmission in radio work. 



SOLAR MIRRORS 

(Continued from next page) 

match with a sea of balloons shot with H.I. Arcs, tried 
out an experimental shot with the Solar Blue Mirror at 
Riverside Studio. The area in front of the black back- 
ground against which the balloons were released was illu- 
minated w ith three 2-K inkies to 1,200 foot candles, using 
the same light meter as for the original shot. The shot 
was taken four times without a compensating filter on 
the camera and the result when screened matched satis- 
factorily. Two separate pairs of woman's hands were also 
shot for a trick sequence and finally a colour chart illu- 
minated alternately with light from a Solar Blue Mirror 
and normal White Mirror to indicate the difference in 
colour rendering. 

The use of incandescent lighting in colour films is 
by no means new, for Bill Shall. A.S.C., demonstrated 
the effectiveness of this method in the film "Dancing 
Pirate," although in this case extensive experiments were 
undertaken, the rating of the lamps high 5-Ks being the 
general unit working at the maximum colour temperature 
of the filament. With the Solar Mirror, the open 18, 24, or 
3(5 in. inky is quite suitable working at medium spread and 
in this way high contrast effects are easily obtained with 
the usual arc source if required. 

The revolution in lighting technique will do more to 
advance the use of colour than any lighting unit yet in- 
troduced, while at the same time improving results with 
normal black and white. 

Experiments are now progressing with a further type 
of Solar Blue Mirror, the results of which will be avail- 
able later. 



July-August, 1938 

SOLAR MIRRORS 

N E W LIGHTING FOR ALL PURPOSES 

RECENTLY a new system of illumination introduced 
into the studio and cinema fields has produced rather 
remarkable and increased light value of high effi- 
ciency with standard equipment. This high effi- 
ciency is obtained with all types of low intensity arcs and 
incandescent lamps used for projection, set lighting, and 
more recently still, eolour photography. 

The new system takes the form of a Solar Blue Mirror 
(Patent Xo. 461160) designed with a certain percentage of 
cobalt blue in the glass melt prior to casting, producing 
in turn a light blue mirror of high reflective and corrected 
qualities. As the blue mirror alters the colour balance 
of the light, tests relating to colour cinematography have 
been rigorously controlled by the Expositron. These tests 
have shown conclusively that with the lamp set for an 
equal lightflux the blue deficiency of incandescent lamps 
was materially lessened. 

In the projection field, say in the studios and labora- 
tory section, black and white and colour rush prints are 
not seen under the best condition with L.I. or inky light 
sources, due to the high percentage of red-yellows and 
the low percentage of the blue-violet — namely 60% for 
the former and 15% for the latter — when equipped with 
standard mirrors. By the adaption of the Solar Blue 
Mirror with its increase in the blue violet of some 22.7%, 
the consequent increase in actinic ligbt value improves 
black and white prints to a remarkable degree, while 
colour rushes closely approximate the real thing. This 
change in actinic light value gives to the small theatre 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



with L.I. or inky light the equivalent light value of the 
cinema H.I. Arc. This standardisation of lighting must 
eliminate a high percentage of complaints re bad prints 
due mainly to differences in projection light qualities and 
be of inestimable value to the industry. 

On the studio side a large number of intensive ex- 
periments have been carried out, both in B. & W. and 
colour, using Solar Mirrors in normal inky units, 
ranging from baby spots to 5 Ks. One of the first 
and most notable achievements was the difference in the 
colour of the light source, giving a whiter light beam of 
the H.I. arc standard, that lifted reds from the muddy 
brown region to the true red region. When mixed with 
normal mirror units, the change jof course was more 
apparent and gave rise to the query "Can this Mirror be 
used with colour successfully?" Billie Luff of Riverside 
Studio quotes tests on Solar Mirrors as follows: "I have 
made some preliminary tests of the Solar Mirror on 
B. & W. and colour and must say I am very impressed 
with the results. I am hoping to make further 
tests in the near future as I feel that this product is a 
step in the right direction and will be of great help to 
lighting men in the cinema industry." 

Comparative readings taken on the Exposition 
through matched colour filters, using a No. 34 filter in 
front of the Standard lamp of 2 Ks. are Solar Blue Mirror. 
(1) Blue 18.7, (2) Green 17.5, (3) Red 19.1, against (4) 
Line 16.2, (5) Green 13.1, (6) Red 13.9 white Mirror using 
the same filters. 

Following these tests. H Chevalier, requiring a shot 
of some balloons falling past the camera as an insert to 
(Continued on previous page) 




18 



THE CIXE-TECHN I (' 1 A N 



July-August, 1988 



PIONEERS 



The majority of the members of our Association have joined 
or become interested only since the present General 
Secretary took office. They have no idea of hoa 1 the 
A.C.T. came into being or of the struggle it had in its 
early days to maintain its existence . In order to give 
such people a>i idea of the origins of their men organisa- 
tion the following Sketch has been compiled from material 
gathered by Mr. f. Neill-Brown. 

MOST of the research into the important events 
of English history is undertaken in the 
"Rotunda" or Round House of the British 

Museum, in an atmosphere redolent of Gibbon 
and the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Our 
research was undertaken in the Round House oi Wardour 
Street in an atmosphere strong with the odour ol .Joe 
Kinder's beer and the decline and fall oi the British Film 
Industry . 

The first whispering of organisation among techni- 
cians arose at the G.B. Studios at Shepherd's Bush about 
January or February of 1933. Not long before that the 
new studios had been opened with a welter ol publicity 
and fanfares of trumpets and trombones heralding in 
another of the many new eras of British Film prosperity. 
The first of their productions was "Rome Express" with 
Esther Ralston (American) and Conrad Veidt (German), 
photographed by Gunther Krampf (Austrian), and edited 
by Fred Smith (American). About the same time London 
Films were beginning to reach the limelight, with Georges 
Perinal (Erench cameraman). Hals Young (American 
cutter), Ned Mann (American trick expert), and Vincent 
Korda (at that time Hungarian art director). Baling also 
were importing foreign talent, such as John Boyle (Ameri- 
can cameraman), and B.I. P. followed suit, though to a 
lesser extent. Even a cursory examination of the pro- 
duction field showed that on the foundations of the 1927 
Films Act the less ambitious type of film would be made 
by British workers and the supers by foreigners. Con- 
siderable uneasiness became manifest throughout the in- 
dustry and came to a head at the Bush. 

At that studio talks between technicians and chippies 
and sparks led first to the suggestion that technicians 
should join one or other of the existing unions, E.T.U. 
and N.A.T.E. But one or two of the cameramen began to 
toy with the idea of forming their own union, and to this 
end Roy Kellino and Bill Allen approached Jolly of the 
Sound department and asked him if he could suggest any 
plan. Jolly slept on it for a couple of days and then, 
by accident, hit on a scheme. His idea was that if a 
union of technical workers was to be formed it would 
require an outside organiser who would have the time 
and opportunity to contact people in other studios. One 
day, strolling through the local market, he met the very 
man for the job, a man who had some slight working 
knowledge of the film industry, who would have the time 
to devote right away, who had a good experience of or- 
ganising similar things in the past, and, most importantly, 
who would not expect a Salary at the start. A few days 
later he introduced his discovery to the staff of G.B.— 
Captain Mathew Cope. 



So Ear DO one had any idea at all ol how this union 
would operate, or even how it was to be formed. But 
having got an Organiser to take the burden from their 
shoulders, the original instigators sat back and breathed 
with relief. In fact they breathed for so long that Copl- 
and Jolly had done most of the preliminary work by them- 
selves b\ the end ol .March. At the beginning of April 
at the back of a cafe in the Shepherd's Bush area might 
have been seen a small placard bearing simply these 
letters — A.S.W., which apparently required no explana- 
tion, for none was given. If you were a technician, how- 
ever, and it you knew of the mysterious goings-on at G.B.. 
you entered the place and. with or without a preliminary 
demand for a large coffee, jerked your head towards the 
mystic notice, jerked halt a crown out of your pocket, and 
were jerked round to the back of the shop where the 
proprietor entered your name and address in a note-book 
and your hall-crown in an account book. You were thus 
an elected and till 1 \ paid-up member of the Association 
of Studio Workers. 

Alter a time Jolly decided that this title was not a 
very good one and suggested that something should he 
got of which the initials should give a word or a slogan. 
The letters A.C.T. were thought of before the title itself 
was decided upon and Association of Cinematograph 
Technicians w as used before Cope put forw ard the present 
variant . 

The first important date in the Association's trans- 
actions is the 12th of April. 1933. the day on which Cope 
first officially met the interested members of G.B. He 
was introduced by Jolly and in a few words he gave them 
an outline of his career and qualifications, dw elling mainly 
on the lines on which he proposed to extend the A.C.T. to 
other studios, the general plans he had in mind, and the 
rules and regulations for membership. This was all 
heartily endorsed and enthusiasm ran high. The A.C.T. 
was practically ready to negotiate with managements al- 
ready. There would be an immediate stop to the foreign 
invasion. Wages would go up. Overtime would be paid. 
Conditions would improve. Etc., etc. Indeed we should 
not be at all surprised if you could date from this time 
one of our great misfortunes . . . over-sanguine but tem- 
porary supporters. Everybody was unanimous on one 
point — that if you joined the A.C.T. this week you would 
see a difference in your pay envelope next week. Those 
who were dubious as to the benefit of that difference did 
not join, and those who were not joined in a rush of 
expectation that had its resultant reaction when noth- 
ing materialised. They withdrew their support, and the 
worst of it was that you never knew they had withdrawn ; 
they didn't bother to tell you. 

Meantime Cope began the good work. Rules were 
drawn up, largely with the help of O'Brien of the 
N.A.T.E., a working policy was thrashed out. names of 
interested parties in other studios were obtained, and with- 
in a month the nominal membership had grown by leaps 
and bounds. Some of the boys at G.B. gave Cope the 
names of friends at B.I. P. and elsewhere, and these people 
he either wrote to or contacted personally. The studios 
themselves were fairly easy ; the big problem was the 
free-lance habitue of Wardour Street. Somehow or other 



July-August, 1938 



THE 



C IXE-T E C H N I C I A N 



49 



the organiser managed to make the acquaintance of a 
large, rotund, cherubic-faced individual who had been con- 
nected with the old cameramen's union years before and 
who had never quite lost his desire to see the industry 
organised. He had a playful habit of banging the table 
now and then and his favourite description of all 
"guv'nors" was "a crowd of lying, thieving, twisting, con- 
niving, jelly-bellied, duck-shoving arch-baskets." which, 
like Dr. Johnson's epigram, is to be taken as a term of 
endearment. He gave prospective victims little quarter 
and simply handed them a form and demanded half-a- 
crown. No questions asked, no explanations given. You 
were automatically a member, at least according to Ken 
Gordon. And that's how Wardour Street was recruited. 

Seriously, however, the enthusiasm with which the 
association idea was taken up gives but a small conception 
of how distressingly bad were the wages and conditions in 
the majority of the studios at the time and how urgently 
a union was needed to clear things up. In a few- weeks 
it was considered possible to call a General Meeting of 
all who had joined and try to obtain a working committee 
or council. 

Accordingly the first General Alerting was held at the 
Blackamoor's Head in Whitcombe Street on Monday. 
22nd Mi y 1933. 

It is not to be imagined that at this time the aims 
and objects of the Association were quite clear to every- 
body or that there was anything like unanimity of pur- 
pose. Ear from it. Indeed, it would be neater the truth 
to say that there were as many conceptions of the A.C.T. 
as there were members, and most of these differing views 
came to light during the next few weeks. Among the 




'.1 large, rotund, cherubic-faced individual' 



" . . . that exceptionally 
intelligent magazine ..." 

James Agate 



• WORLD FILM NEWS • 

Monthly, one shilling 

Published at 34 Soho Square, W.1. 



. . . always graphic 
and entertaining ..." 

The Criterion 



THE CINE-TECHNIC1 A N 



July-August L908 



more or less quaint ideas let us give a few. One was that 
it had been formed, Like the A.S.C. in the States, simply 
tor the protection oi cameramen, Another was that it 
would only lie open to technicians of irom rive to ten 
years' experience. Another was that it was to he an 
immediate "closed shop' ' and thai as from the date of 
registration as a union all foreigners would have to leave 
the country. When this desirable object was not imme- 
diately achieved the supporters of it left the Association. 
Yet another was that it was to be a body of technical 
experts who were to advise the industry on the best way 
to go about its business. Still another was that it was 
open to everybody in the trade and misguided enthusiasts 
enrolled publicity managers, musicians, and directors, 
irrespective of whether w e could ever do am t hing for them 
or not. One studio put forward the idea that ill order to 
have the Association run by the senior men the juniors 
should have no vote at all. (An alternative to this was 
that everybody should have as main votes as he received 
pounds in his weekly pay envelope). Perhaps the strongest 
divergence of opinion was as to whether it ought to be a 

trades union or not, without anybody being very clear as 

to what they meant by a trade union, anyhow . 

'Phis is enough to show that the organiser had taken on 
a stiffer job than he realised in trying to weld this hetero- 
geneous mass of ill-considered prejudice into anything like 
a uniform policy. All that was really certain was that 
the A.C.T. had been formed, its existence was known to 
the employers, some of its aims and objects were realised 
by them, and beyond all shadow of doubt the fight was on. 

At that first General Meeting leading technicians from 
the different studios were elected to act as temporary 
committee or general council. It was also decided at this 
meeting that in order to induce all possible members to 
join immediately the entrance fee as from the 11th June 
should be increased from two-and-six to ten guineas ! And 
that was actually passed. Two days later the elected com- 
mittee reduced this to five guineas ! The same committee 
passed a motion that no apprentices should be allowed 
to join the Association, but this motion seems to have 
been conveniently forgotten. Two days later another 
'jfeneral Meeting w as called at the Comedy Restaurant in 
Panton Street ; it decided that the minimum qualifica- 
tion for joining the Association should be to have worked 
on at least six pictures, This also by mutual consent was 
never afterwards referred to, and the committee got out of 
the difficulty by adding after every rule that had been 
made the necessary words "at the council's discretion." 

We could go on giving many examples of rules that 
were made eithei by committees or at General Meetings 
(of which there were many in the early days) only to be 
scrapped later, but they would only be small items in the 
one big general conclusion — that since its formation to 
deal with one specific problem, the foreign technician, 
the A.C.T. had expanded its programme so far beyond 
this that it was no longer quite sure of what it had been 
formed for or indeed why it had been formed at all, that 
it had, by bringing in a mass of uninformed opinion, so 
complicated its task that it was now necessarj' to scrap 
all that had been done by its instigators at the Bush and 
start again. 



Cope had drawn liberally on the help offered by other 
Trades I 'nions in getting the rules of the Association draw n 
up, and the A.C.T. can never forget the debt of gratitude 
it owes to two other union leaders who gave unstintingly 
much moral support and a great deal ot practical assis- 
tance to us in our first critical years Alfred Wall of 
Equity and the London Trades Council, and Tom O'Brien 
of the N.A.T.B., the latter of whom helped in the fram- 
ing of our constitution and spoke with great effect at the 
first really big Annual General Meeting at the Poland 
Street Rehearsal Rooms. On one occasion there was 
considerable heart-burning at Twickenham, as a result of 
which Wall and O'Brien agreed to accompany Cope on 
a visit to Julius Jlagen. Although the affair concerned 
only the A.C.T., Wall and O'Brien went into the inter- 
view while Cope went into the local "pub" — not 
because he wanted to but because the other two were the 
only people that Hagen would consult. 

At this time the officers of the Association were :— 
President, Cyril Stanborough ; Vice-President. Henry 
Harris; Secretary and Organiser, Capt. Cope; Treasurer, 
Jack Dermis; Trustees, Dave Bawnsley and Dick Smith; 
these formed the Council together with Dicky Beville, 
Jack Cox and A. B. Rudolph of B.I. P., Roy Kellino 
and Jolly of (I.B., Derick Williams and Hand of Gains- 
borough, Poser of Teddington. and Borradaile of London 
Films. The Council met at the "Blackamoor's Head" and 
it was at these first meetings that the snags in organisa- 
tion were first noticed. Practically no one on the Council 
had any experience at all of T.TJ. methods and several in- 
deed took the view that there was no intention of operat- 
ing as a trade union. We were really supposed to be a 
high-brow society who were going for Royal Charters and 
what-not and who would eventually give degrees to quali- 
fied technicians. But certain employers thought other- 
wise. They had got it into their heads that we were a 
trade union and decided that it was not a very nice thing 
for their employees to belong to. Far, far better to work 
long hours, have unsatisfactory conditions and get no over- 
time in a hopelessly disorganised industry than to have 
standard and decent wages and conditions and so put your- 
self on the same level as the common workers. Official op- 
position to the A.C.T. grew tremendously both at the Bush 
and Twickenham. Cyril Stanborough was a real stal- 
wart, refusing to budge an inch in his loyalty to the 
union even when Julius Hagen gave members at Twick- 
enham one hour in which to decide w hether to leave the 

A. C.T. or the studio. Cyril was on contract and preferred 
to remain in the union, anyway. G.B. dithered between 
taking the same action as Hagen or forming a company 
union of their own. A meeting was held to which they 
called all their employees, but in the end they did neither 
of these things, for which much thanks is due to the per- 
sonal intervention of Ivor Montagu, then as now one of 
our most solid and loyal supporters. 

It seems, however, at this time (July, 1933) that the 
efforts to stem the flood of the Association's activities at 
G.B. were having effect and while other places like B.I. P., 

B. k D., London Films, Gainsborough, Teddington. etc., 
were organising well, the studio that had been responsible 
for founding the union was dropping behind. On July 6th 
at another of the very frequent General Meetings, not 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



51 



a single G.B. member turned up. The Secretary was 
constantly writing letters to the company, but the situa- 
tion remained critical for a long time. 

By now, the Council was beginning to realise some- 
thing of the work it had ahead of it. It still met 
at the "Blackamoor's Head" and the members were get- 
ting more used to the best methods of procedure. The 
way in which subscriptions should be collected and 
recorded was decided upon and collectors appointed. Lec- 
tures and film shows were arranged. Honorary Presidents 
and Vice-Presidents w ere suggested (included among these 
were tlic names of Jock McCardle, Sam Harris, Blake of 
Kodak. Albert (layering, Sir P. Cunliffe Lister, and Sir 
Philip Sassoon). The way in which the organising should be 
arranged was decided upon as well as the somewhat loose 
way in which the organiser should be paid, and by Septem- 
ber the A.CT. had settled down to the routine which soon 
became so familiar. The ever-present problems were: — 
(ll The studios whose management did not like us; 
(2) The gaining of the confidence of Government depart- 
ments ; (3) The invading foreigners; (4) The maintaining 
of our existing membership ; (5) The running of lectures 
and shows; and (6) The calling of local meetings. 

Gradually, through the mist of argument and debate 
(and sometimes abuse) one begins to discern a definite line 
of thought and action. There was about the Council then 
a certain old school tie atmosphere. The Secretary's 
monocle suggested it, the attitude of the new President, 
Sir Reginald Mitchell-Banks (elected about November), 
carried it a step further, and it was clinched by the violent 
anti-trade union attitude of the members at London Films, 
B. cv D., and Gainsborough. Only H.I. P. seemed set on 
union methods. The employment register had been started 
and it was evident that apart from activity in supplying 
studios with staff in emergencies nothing came out of the 
Council meetings but the minutes. Members began the 
cry which has never really ceased even though it lias lost 
its point — "W hat is the A.CT. doing?" 

Membership began to decline. In spite of the efforts 
of the Council and the table thumping of Ken Gordon, 
despite the charm of the President and the presence of 
M.P's. at the Annual General Meeting in 1934, the bulk 
of the rank and file began to drop out. Receipts were 
often too small to pay the organiser even his expenses. 
The vicious circle began — no money coining in to carry on 
the work oi organising, no money wherewith to circularise 
members and inform them of our activities, no obvious 
result being shown to the members for what money they 
did pay, and less interest being taken b\ the few that 
were left. About December 1938, shortly after Sir Reginald 
had become President, the venue, was changed to the 
Radio and Film Club in Great Pulteney Street and there 
it remained for nearly twelve months. During most of 
this year the majority of the time was taken up by trying 
to fight isolated cases of foreigners entering the country, 
or in drafting out a "Grading Scheme" whereby it was 
hoped to grade every member of the Association 
according to a rather elaborate system of age, years in 
the industry, number of pictures worked on, type of 
picture, and so forth. The grades at first were "Member." 
"Associate," "Student," and later, to give distinction to 
the few people left in the A.CT. from the start, 
"Founders." It was so much of a Guild indeed that 
someone proposed senior technicians should be called 
"Senior Fellows," others "Fellows." and others "Licen- 



tiates." In fact the whole thing was rather reminiscent 
ot a badly-run undergraduate debating society. Even the 
members of the Council itself began to lose heart. Meet- 
ings were held at very irregular intervals, anything from 
a fortnight to a month elapsing between each, and at that 
time many of these Council Meetings became in effect 
only General Purposes Committee Meetings, as not 
enough members turned up to form a quorum. 

About October of that year, 1934, the big storm that 
eventually ended the old regime of A.CT. began to blow 
up. Membership had fallen to about 100 only and those 
100 were threatening to leave unless the Association de- 
cided to act like any of the other trade unions whose 
activities and results they saw round them every day in 
the studios. Forced by the pressure of opinion into alter- 
ing its tactics, the Council called in Mr. Robin de Gruchy, 
of the National Union of Journalists, who gave a very 
lucid account of what it would mean to act as a thorough- 
going trade union. The Council was impressed and at the 
next meeting on November 15th they decided unanimously 
to go whole-heartedly for a trade union policy. 

These meetings were now being held at the "Round 
House" in Wardour Street (scene of our researches) and 
it was soon decided that the Council would have to draw- 
up a scheme in which the main idea was to enlist the 
help of Wall of Equity. At this point the affairs of 
the Association become somewhat complex. The unions 
were not exactly friendly with one another, the Secretary 
of A.CT. was not exactly persona grata witli Wall, Rowan 
or O'Brien. Cope wrote letters which were subject to 
misinterpretation ; this caused the Council to form a 
signing committee which had to sign every letter 
before they allowed it to be send out, thus causing 
still further delay. (Imagine what the Secretary 
must have felt like when he had to take a letter 
all the way to Gainsborough simply to have it signed !) 
Taking everything into consideration it is not surprising 
that ot the A.CT's. now HO members only about 20 per 
cent were paying subscriptions. At the root of the trouble 
was the growing difference in outlook between the 
trade-union-conscious Council and that old-school-tie 
Secretary. This is said without criticism of him as an 
individual, for we are very well aware that possibly no 
other person could have got the Association together at 
the start as well or as quickly as Cope did. Where he 
failed was in not realising that the technical staff were 
in daily contact with people who had themselves secured 
the best wages and conditions they could get through 
their appropriate trade union. The technicians were up 
against a more serious danger not only in the matter of 
wages and conditions but in the ever increasing menace 
of the foreigner. They accepted the Guild idea to start 
with, but when they found its operation was going to 
take so long and its results to be so uncertain, they went 
for the trade union policy. That policy Cope was not able 
to lead. At a meeting in the "Round House" on 
2nd January, 193."), Captain Cope took the only step he 
could in the very difficult circumstances and resigned. 

So at the beginning of the new year we were faced 
with having to find a new Secretary, and we found one. 
What he felt like when he took over the organisation and 
saw the awful muddle it had got itself into we don't know, 
but what the result of his survey was we do. Within a 

(Continued at foot of next page) 



r>2 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



July-August, L088 



ACOUSTICS PERSPECTIVE IN MOTION 

PICTURES 



WIIKX ;i person is viewing a real scene in real 
life, he is viewing it with two lenses— that is, 
the eyes — and with two pickup devices — thai is, 
the ears— which are in a fixed relationship one to 
the other. The present sound picture has neither a stereo- 
scopic picture nor stereoscopic sound. It is the equiva- 
lent of a one-eared, one-eyed man viewing a real scene in 
real life. It is fortunate that nature endowed our eyes, 
whether one or both, with an accurate sense ol direction, 
since a one-eared person has practically no means ol de- 
tecting direction acoustically. On the other hand, the 
loss ot one eye greatly diminishes the ability of the ob- 
server to determine distance, whereas the loss of one ear, 
particularly under indoor conditions, acoustically enhances 
the sense of distance. We. therefore, find thai the pic- 
ture helps to draw the apparent position ol the sound from 
one side to the other of the picture screen, while the 
acoustic perspective ol the sound itseli aids the eye in 
interpreting the picture perspective which is partially 
destroyed by monocular projection. 

The method of obtaining acoustic perspective was 
discussed some years ago and a relationship was worked 
out between the microphone position and the focal length 
of the camera lens taking the accompanying picture. 

There are occasions when it is necessary to use several 
cameras on the same scene simultaneously. Where the 
acoustic perspective is of no dramatic importance, a single 
close-up track can be used for all of the picture takes, the 
sound being dubbed to slightly lower volume for the long 
shot scenes. If, however, the perspective contributes 
materially to the dramatic effect, it is possible to obtain 
full acoustic perspective by the use ol two simultaneous 
sound tracks. The first track has a microphone posi- 
tion corresponding to the closest close-up. while the second 
track has a position corresponding to the longest long 
shot. By mixing these two tracks in the proper propor- 
tions in the dubbing process, the sound can be made to 
appear to come from any intermediate distance necessary 
to fit the picture. 
"LIVENESS FACTOR" 

The principles of acoustic perspective and the suit- 
able "liveness" for their application have been under- 
stood for some time. A brief review of these principles 
is considered necessary as an introduction to the discus- 
sion of stereoscopic recording. 

It has been known for some time that the best micro- 
phone positions vary from room to room even though the 
apparent "liveness" of the recorded sound may remain 
unchanged. Since it is possible to obtain approximately 
similar acoustic effects under varying microphone condi- 
tions, it was felt that some constant of pickup procedure 
could be found which would include not only the 
microphone distance but the acoustics of the space as 



PIONEERS [continued from previous page) 
few weeks the Council meetings were real Council meet- 
ings, renewed interest sprang up, members became once 
more conscious of the part A.C.T. could play. From 
80 members in December, 1934 to about 1,400 now is a 
story that must wait till a later issue of this Journal, 
and then it ma\ best be told by the man who has been 
practically entirely responsible for the growth of tins 
union Mr. George II. Elvin. 



well. Such a constant has been determined and is called 

"liveness." 

In general, the greater the liveness of the reproduced 
sound, the 1 uithcr does the source of sound appear to be 
awa\ from the immediate foreground. In other words, 
the greater the liveness the more the sound approaches 
a long-shot condition. The second, but less important, 
iactor controlling apparent distance is the loudness at 
which the sound is recorded and reproduced. By the 
proper control, therefore, ot the liveness and the loudness, 
tull lore and alt perspective can be obtained. 

It is not possible, however, by the use of these factors 
to obtain any sense ol side-to-side movement of the sound. 
In order to obtain the sidewise illusion it is necessary to 
record and reproduce at hast two separate channels of 
sound. This type ot reproduction has been termed 
"stereophonic." The control of fore and aft perspective 
of stereophonic recording is similar to its control in single 
channel systems, t he addition of the sidewise illusion being 
the main characteristic of stereophonic reproduction. 

Briefly, the factors of practical importance may be 
summarized as follows: — 

(I l The sidewise position of the image is dependent 
upon the ratio of the intensity of the direct sound 
falling on each of the two microphones. 

(2) The apparent position of the sound, back of the 
extreme foreground, is determined mainly by the 
ratio of reverberant to direct sound at the micro- 
phone nearest to the source. 
With these two factors clearly in mind, it is possible to 
set up roughly a technique of operation in a six-wall en- 
closure such as a scoring page. Conditions existing on an 
open production set are not as well understood. 
STEREOPHONIC 

Stereophonic effects have been synthesized in those 
cases where not more than one sound is present at any 
one time. This includes the case ot dialogue where one 
ot the actors speaks first followed by the speech of the 
second, etc. It would not apply to the case of a heated 
argument where both actors speak simultaneously. 

Under these conditions of the single sound source, 
long shot and close-up sound tracks are recorded separate- 
ly. By a special circuit, whereby the output currents from 
each of the two resulting records can be distributed in 
any desired ratio between two stereophonic channels, it 
is possible to make the apparent source of sound come 
from any desired point on the picture set. The skill re- 
quired of the dubbing mixer to accomplish this result is 
probably not as great as that required for some of the 
trick sound effects now being handled in Hollywood. 

It is believed that stereophonic technique has been 
carried far enough in its purely experimental phases to 
make it available for actual picture production when the 
industry feels the need of another major advance. Prob- 
lems which will arise under studio conditions should be of 
a type which can be solved by the application of the same 
type of ingenuity which the sound departments of the 
various studios applied in the past to the adaption of 
sound to siWit pictures. 

(This article, by J. P. Maxfield, A. W. Collcdgc, and 
/v'. 7 . Friebus of Electrical Research Products, Inc., is pub- 
lished by courtesy of The S.M.P.E. Journal and The Western 
Electric' Co. Ltd.) 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHMCJ A N 



53 



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54 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



July-August, l'J38 



You Now Work in a Factory 

By GEORGE H. ELVIN 



IN a foreword to A Guide to the Factories Act, 1937 (II. M. 
Stationery Office, ud. net) Sir Samuel Hoare, the 
Home Secretary, claims that the Factories Act of 
11)37 is an important milestone (in the road to safety, health 
and welfare to industry. Fortunately he does not attempt 
to indicate how far that milestone is from the ultimate 
destination. Trade Union Memhers of Parliament who 
endeavoured, with a certain degree of success, to improve 
the original dral't Bill feel it contains far too many loop- 
holes and gives the employer too many opportunities to 
escape his obligations. But the new Act is definitely a 
step forward particularly so far as film workers are 
concerned. Previously only laboratories and the cutting 
rooms in the studios were classed as a factory. As from 
July 1st, 1938 (when the Act became operative), the studio 
floor came under that head and the provisions of the Act 
now apply to all branches of film production. The only 
persons not now covered are theatrical performers. 

A Factory is broadly defined as (fay premises, includ- 
ing premises in the open air, in which PERSONS ARE 
EMPLOYED IN MANUAL LABOUR by way of trade or 
for purposes of gain. Special types of labour covered are 
defined and certain particular premises to which the Act 
applies are listed. One of these is: — 

any premises in which the production of cinematograph 
films is carried on by way of trade or for purposes of 
gain, so, however, thai the employment at any such 
premises of theatrical performers within the meaning of 
the Theatrical Employers' Registration Act, 1925, and of 
attendants on such theatrical performers shall not be 
deemed to be employment in a factory. 

This makes it clear that the Act applies to film 
studios, but the employment of artistes and their atten- 
dants, such as dressers, is not covered. A.C.T. welcomes 
the above clause and it enlisted the support of the Trade 
Union group of Members of Parliament in its support. 

It also seems clear that the Act applies to all premises 
where film production is carried on — not merely studios. 
For example, locations (i.e., open-air premises) and cer- 
tain auxiliary premises such as theatres, cutting rooms 
and premises of a like nature (e.g., as in and around 
Wardour Street). 

Summaries of Acts can be very dangerous friends. 
Hut it is realised many members will be unable to read 
the Act for themselves — even if they did they might be 
little the wiser if not versed in the particular phraseology 
and adaptations of the King's English used in statutes. 
For example, "a place situate within the close, curtilage, 
or precincts forming a factory" could, in the layman's 
opinion, be interpreted in a much simpler language with- 
out losing any of the sense. The Home Office Guide, 
however, to which I have referred, is a much more lucid 




George IT. Elvin. 



document and should be read by all who can get hold of 
it. Your studio or laboratory secretary, to whom a copy 
has been sent, or Head Office, can lend you this. 

The following are some of the more important regu- 
lations of the Act. It is emphasised that in the case of 
possible breach or difficulty, reference should be made, 
however, to the Guide, the Act itself, or Head Office. 

GENERAL HEALTH PROVISIONS 

Accumulations of dirt and refuse must be removed 
daily. 

Floors must be washed, or, if effective and suitable, 
swept weekly. 

Effective provisions must be made for securing rea- 
sonable temperatures and ventilation. Workers must not 
be unreasonably exposed to excesses of temperature — 
either high or low. 

There are general provisions with reference to over- 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



55 



crowding, ventilation, lighting, drainage of floors, sanitary 
conveniences. 

A clause of particular importance to the laboratories 
is one giving the Secretary of State certain powers tor 
requiring medical supervision in particular circumstances. 
For example, where he has reason to believe that cases 
of illness which have occurred may be due to the condi- 
tions of work, or that some new process may cause risk 
of injury to health, or that some work on which young 
persons are being employed may cause risk of injury to 
their health. 

SAFETY PROVISIONS 

The Safety Provisions contain a number of amend- 
ments on the old Act. Points covered include fire pre- 
cautions, protection against acids and other dangerous 
Liquids, safeguards in connection with machinery. 

GENERAL WELFARE 

New general requirements are laid down, which cover 
washing facilities, accommodation for clothing, and First 
Aid. 

Adequate and suitable washing facilities must be pro- 
vided, with soap and clean towels. (This Section does not 
come into force until 1st July, 1939). A First Aid box 
or cupboard of the prescribed standard is required. If 
more than 50 persons are employed a new requirement 
states that the person in charge of each box must be 
trained in First Aid treatment. 

SPECIAL HEALTH, SAFETY AND 
WELFARE PROVISIONS 

All practicable measures must be taken to protect em- 
ployees against breathing dust, fumes or other impurities. 

Persons under 18 of either sex must not lift, carry 
or move weights likely to cause them injury. There is 
no guide as to the maximum weight, but in the 1901 Act 
weights in certain industries were restricted to 50 lbs. 
for boys under 16, and 65 lbs. for youth between 16 and 
18. This clause would, therefore, apply to cameras and 
other stud'o gear. 

HOURS OF WOMEN & YOUNG PERSONS 

One of the most important features of the Act is that 
it greatly reduces the permissable working hours laid down 
in previous Factory Acts both for women and young 
persons. There are no provisions dealing with the hours of 
employment of adult males. A woman means a female who 
has attained the age of 18, but the provisions as to hours, 
Sundays, and holidays do not apply to women holding re- 
sponsible positions of management, who are not ordinarily 
engaged in manual work. 

A Young Person means broadly a person between the 
ages of 14 and 18 who is no longer required to be sent 
to school. The fact that a young person works for no 
wages, or is an apprentice, does not exempt him or her 
from the provisions of the Act. 

The total hours worked, for women and young per- 
sons, exclusive of meal and rest-breaks, must not exceed 
9 in any day nor exceed 48 in any week. The latter figure 
will be reduced as from July 1st, 1939, to 44 hours for 
young persons under 16. There must be a minimum 
half-hour break after every 4.| hours worked. Work must 
not begin earlier than 7 a.m. nor finish later than 8 p.m. 
(6 p.m. in the case of persons under 16), or on Saturday 



1 p.m. Sunday employment is prohibited. 

A limited amount of overtime is permissible, but it : — 

(a) Must not exceed 100 hours in a calendar year; 

(b) Must not exceed 6 hours in any week ; 

(c) Must not take place in more than 25 weeks in 

any calendar year. 

Before employing any woman or young person on 
overtime on any day, the firm must send in writing to 
the District Inspector, and enter in a register to be pre- 
scribed, such particulars as may be prescribed of the over- 
time employment. 

Christmas Day, Good Friday and Bank Holidays are 
compulsory holidays, but alternative days may be sub- 
stituted by the employer posting up in the Factory notices 
of such intention at least three weeks before the holiday 
in question. 

OFFENCES, PENALTIES AND 
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS 

Generally, "the occupier" is responsible for contra- 
vention of the Act, but no interpretation is given of this 
expression. He is usually deemed to be the person, or 
company, having control over the premises or those work- 
ing on the premises. There is a general fine not exceed- 
ing £20 for breach of the Act plus £5 for each day on 
which the contravention is continued after conviction. 
There are other special penalties. 

CONCLUSION 

The Factories Act, 1937, is necessarily long (it runs 
into 145 pages) and complicated, covering as it does most 
of the important general aspects relating to employment 
in the industry. But it is for this reason very important 
and it is hoped that its length and complexity will not 
prevent members from studying it. It is brought into 
law for their good. Constant vigilance will be necessary to 
ensure that studio and laboratory technicians and workers 
reap all the benefits this piece of social legislation affords. 



OBITUARY 

It is with very deep regret that we have to 
record the sudden death of EDGAR ROGERS, an 
early A.C.T. member and an esteemed veteran of 
the industry w ith over forty years' experience. His 
last employment was in the ( iaumont- British model 
department, where he was until they moved from 
Lime Grove. 

We extend our dee]) sympathy to his children, 
who include Jimmy Rogers, the well-known camera- 
man. They have inherited his enthusiasm and flair 
for films and are all in the industry in varying 
capacities. 



WHAT OFFERS, 

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Am young, blonde and beau., want chance in film. 
118 lbs. Am. dram, exper. Ride horse bk. and expert 
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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



July-August. L988 




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t ■ \() accompany a beautiful blonde to a cinema a mile 
B from the front line trenches is an interesting ex- 
X perience. Unfortunately I have never had thai 
pleasure. First ly, all t lie cinemas w en ■ lull. 
Secondly I. wasn't with a beautitul blonde: only with 
Thorold Dickinson. This, oi course, is an experience but 
of another kind. We were in Madrid, not, as you may 
have gathered, to see pictures, but to make them. How 
we came to be there is a long story which I shan't attempt 
to relate. What 1 shall try to tell you is something about 
the Spanish film business 

There is in Government Spain to-day, in spite of the 
War, a. busy little film industry, producing in the main 
newsreels and documentaries. There are two main com- 
panies engaged in this work. The largest is Film Populai . 
covering all Republican territory, making a weekly news- 
reel and a fair number of documentaries. "Galicia," one 
of the latter, a lyrical film dealing with lite in that region, 
won a Gold Medal last year in Paris. Hut these shorts 
are not confined to ethnological subjects only. They range 
from pottery-making and farm work to the technique oi 
blood-transfusion and to films on various military actions 
in the "March of Time" style. The cameras chiefly used 
for these are Eyemos, and some of the material which 
has been obtained on the battlefields is amazing. Shots 
from the trenches across "No-Man's Land" during 
attacks and close-ups of the fighters in action bring the 
horror and terror of war home to you with a vengeance. 
The second company is called Laya Film*, operating 
primarily in Catalonia, producing films similar to the 
above, but with Catalan commentaries. There is no truth, 
how ever, in the rumour that it is going to make a picture 
on the Elephant and the Catalan Question ! Military' sub- 
jects of various kinds are made occasionally by Army 
units, several very good ones having been made by the 
Centre Army at Madrid. We saw one that had to be shot 
on sound stock owing to a shortage of negative. We were 
told it was shot on a rather dull day when there was no 
great range of tone contrast. The result was surprisingly 
good. We were also shown a shot of an explosion which 
would have delighted the hearts of one or two English 
directors whom I could name. In fact, I thought that 
they must have had something to do with it, until we 
were told that every precaution had been taken to make 
sure that the cameramen were safe. 

Ordinary studio production has never been very plen- 
tiful in Spain and since the rebellion this little has become 
even less; even so. one or two films have been made at 
the Lepanto Studios at Barcelona. The production quali- 
ties of these films are, however, not very high; thev bear 



PICTURES IN 
WARTIME 

by 




a marked resemblance to some of the early Quota 
"quickies." The greatest snag in Spanish film production 
at the moment is the shortage of raw stock which has 
to be imported, and consequently it is used very sparingly. 
English studios have a legend of the novice who was told 
to bring a "film-stretcher" in order to extend the length 
of a shot, and who busily trotted off to find one- If he 
could find such a stretcher and take it out to Spain to- 
day, he'd make a fortune. 

The cinemas do very good business, even under the 
most adverse conditions. For example, most of them in 
Madrid are along the Gran Via. in which stands the 
famous Telefonica, the target for over eighteen months of 
the Fascist batteries only a few miles away, and it is 
impossible to get into any one of them on a Sunday 
afternoon w ithout having previously booked. The majority 
of the films showing are American — some rather old — 
either sub-titled or dubbed into Spanish. There are a 
few Spanish, French and Russian pictures, and while we 
were there a Harry Roy film was released ("Everything in 
Rhythm."). The dubbing of Spanish on to foreign films 
is done very well and is considerably ahead of many of the 
dubbed films which have been shown here in England. 
Some of the cinemas show nothing but shorts, news and 
(Continued on page 58) 



J 



uly-August, 1038 



THE CHE-TEC II \ 1 C I A N 



57 



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THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



July-August, 1988 



WOMEN & THE A CT. 

THERE is an unreasonable tradition in most indus- 
tries—very prevalent in films — -that the men should 
start the scrap over wages and conditions and the 
women wait for results. Consequently a section of 
the trade, numerically powerful ,is more or less of a dead 
weight in the struggle for a satisfactory standard of wages 
and conditions. Most women are either nominal members 
of the Association or outside it altogether. They are apt 
to say, "I've been in the trade for 3-7-20 years; what 
can the A.C.T. do for me? It's only another weekly 
subscription to pay out." Alternatively it may be, "We 
can't do anything on this job; there are too few of us 
here." There is even the belief that the A.C.T. is a sort 
of glorified employment agency with a dash of the Cinema- 
tograph Benevolent Fund thrown in. Besides, a good per- 
centage of girls consider that they are only working tem- 
porarily, until they get married. Leaving aside all statis- 
tics relating to surplus women and moral warnings about 
counting your chickens before they are hatched, there is 
still no sort of reason why they should not have the best 
possible wages while they are working — wages that give 
them a sufficient margin for saving too. After all, many 
women want to take up their jobs again later, their hus- 
bands may fall out of work— the family's income might 



PICTURES IN WARTIME 

(Continued from page 56) 

cartoons and are very similar to the news-reel theatres in 
this country. The most popular film personalities are 
Popeye the Sailor, the Four Marx Brothers and thirdly 
Fred Astaire and (linger Rogers. Popeye seems to have 
completely captivated the Spaniards. All his films are 
shown, including many "primitives." Post-cards, toys 
and books about him are sold everywhere. Popeye 's con- 
versation in English is bad enough — but in Spanish! 

There are several laboratories in Barcelona and a 
very good one in Madrid. They do not work night-shifts 
because if there is an air-raid at night all electric current 
is cut off, and it would be just too bad if a nice piece 
of negative happened to be about hallway through just 
then ! The standard of work is fairly high, but it is not 
so good as that of the first-class labs here in England. 
The negative is turned out O.K. but they are a bit weak 
on printing, the grading often leaving something to be 
desired. A big difficulty with which they have to contend 
is bad chemicals; good material is very hard come by at 
the present time and the inferior brands that they have 
to be content with have great tendencies to form an ob- 
jectionable scum on the surface of the baths. The labora- 
tory in Madrid is one of the most up-to-date that I have 
ever seen ; it is kept spotlessly clean and in good repair, 
and it lias the most comfortable staff rest-room I have 
ever lounged in. Both in Barcelona and in Madrid the 
greater part of the equipment is Debrie — all the printing 
machines and the majority of the developing plant. In 
Madrid some of their apparatus has been stored in another 
part of the city so that should the works be hit by a shell, 
they may still have something to carry on with— if they 
themselves are left I 

The Spaniards have, on the whole, the nucleus of a 
very fine film industry and it will be interesting to see 
how it will develop if it is given the opportunity to do so. 



need supplementing. And it is setting a lower standard 
of wage rates to which their fellow workers have to con- 
form. 

These various attitudes and misconceptions must 
cripple the Association. Wardour Street is crowded with 
small firms employing chiefly women — especially in the 
cutting rooms — who work for well below the average rates 
for as many hours at a stretch as happens to be conve- 
nient to the boss. A current superstition — relic of the 
days when studios were furnished with producer's 
nephews and hopeful amateurs working for "Art for Art's 
sake" salaries — is that if the staff is determined to walk 
out at o'clock, the employer can sack the lot, walk out 
into Wardour Street and fit himself up with the hungry 
multitudes of technicians hanging around. In point of 
fact, it is now generally acknowledged that the simplest 
way of getting an efficient technical staff is to apply 
through the A.C.T. Employment Bureau. And member- 
ship is steadily increasing. But it is impossible to get 
reasonable wages — paid overtime and decent conditions 
guaranteed — while there are women who can be got on the 
cheap to work for unlimited hours on the grounds that 
"films are like that anyhow." 

I personally should like to know the opinion of other 
women A.C.T. members on a Women's Section — or at 
least a Women's Committee — to concentrate on specific 
women's problems and the recruiting of women to the 
Union. Such a committee could, for instance, work out 
a clear-cut definition of what activities each particular 
branch of work covers. In Continuity, especially, there 
is no hard and fast rule of what the job includes. It can 
be stretched to mean all the private correspondence of the 
director and his assistants as well as doing the firm's 
accounts. On the other hand, small companies will use 
their secretary as a Continuity girl and tell her to do the 
best she can even if it is the first time she has seen a 
camera larger than a No. 2 Brownie. A meeting called 
to discuss and outline the position of Continuity girls had 
a poor attendance. Obviously, it is difficult and a nuisance 
to come right up into Central London for a meeting in 
the evening, but a women's committee in the studios with 
one representative elected to attend a central women's 
committee ought to be a workable form of organisation. 
Women realise their helplessness as individuals — when 
faced with undercutting — to get a fair return for their 
work. But they have not yet understood that unity is 
the obvious remedy. 

Alison Selby-Lowndes 



LAB TOPICS 

(Continued from next page) 

NEG CLEANER: Charmer with a sweeping move- 
ment, or he-man with gas mask. 



VIEWER: One who views film, send send it back 
for reduction. For definition of reduction, see developer. 
For definition of developer, see viewer. Viewer to see 
oculist, says developer. 



PRINTER : Refer to scratch — wrong lights — tear- 
ups. See Manager, then Exchange (Employment). 

GAMMA 



July-August, 1938 THE CINE- T ECHNICIAN 59 

LAB TOPICS 



FUMES IN LABORATORIES 

The health of film laboratory workers should he the 
careful consideration of all lab managements. Every film 
lab should be equipped with an air-conditioning plant and 
up-to-date ventilation. This is the only way in which a 
continuous supply of pure air can be maintained. 

Let us consider the fumes in different parts of a film 
lab: First, we have the cleaning department. When 
cleaning is done by hand, methylated spirit is used. 
Imagine working in a room where the air is practically 
stagnant, and fumes are rising from cleaning benches 
into the atmosphere as the spirit evaporates after being 
wiped over the film. 

Then there are the developing rooms. When tanks 
are being cleaned, generous quantities of hydrochloric acid 
are used, the resultant fumes producing a choking sensa- 
tion. Near by will be situated the chemical mixing de- 
partment, with its preponderating smell of acids. In the 
positive joining and matching rooms amyl acetate pollutes 
the atmosphere, and in the printing rooms again acetate 
and the smell of unexposed film stock. 

Furthermore, 40% of lab employees work all day long 
in a dim red or green light, their air supply may be coming 
to them secondhand from another room and perhaps be 
loaded with acetate or other equally unpleasant fumes. 
Do not such rooms demand some method whereby the 
air supply can constantly he renewed? 

True, employers will tell you that factory insj)ectors 
on their regular visits have seldom iound cause for com- 
plaint. Probably this is because they are more concerned 
with precautions against fire. Their chief worry seems to 
be whether fire bells ring and swing doors operate pro- 
perly, and how much film is being housed in a workroom 
above the regulation footage. The\ concern themselves 
more with what might happen than with whal is happen- 
ing. It seems of little matter that workers are perhaps 
being deprived of fresh air for eight or more hours a day 
so long as they are safeguarded against fire. 

All film Laboratories should be equipped with air- 
conditioning plants and first-class ventilation, and there 
should be a Home Office regulation making tins 
compulsory. 

ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL CLAIM 

A.C.T. has recently settled an important claim for 
one of its members. They approached General Film Dis- 
tributors Ltd.. claiming arrears of salary due and pay- 
ment in respect of irregular deductions tor National 
Health Insurance to one of its members who had re- 
cently been dismissed by the Company. The claim was 
successfully settled following conversations between Mr. 
Elvin and the Secretary of G.F.D., and a cheque for 
£6.10.0 has now been handed to Mr. Dyas, the member 
concerned. 

The settlement places on record an important point 
concerning a common practice of many companies. A.C.T. 
has always contended that it is irregular to deduct from 
employees' wages a sum equivalent to the National 
Health Insurance benefit received. A County Court 
Judge has said : "The job of the National Health Insur- 
ance Acts is to enable an employee to be in receipt of 
wages and insurance because he needs more, and the 
benefits are intended to help him to get better." 



The second half of the claim is equally important, 
as A.C.T. has always contended, with legal precendent, 
that an employer is not justified in stopping a servant's 
w ages because of temporary illness so long as employment 
has not been brought to an end. Judge Mellor, K.C., 
ruled in Fordham v. Schwaldt & Co., that an employee 
is entitled to demand a salary during sickness, a lading 
which has been upheld on many occasions recently. This 
is so, even when the employer gives the employee clearly 
to understand to the contrary. 

AGREEMENT DISCUSSIONS COMMENCE 

Laboratory members will be pleased to hear that the 
first meeting between the Laboratory Employers and 
A.C.T. to discuss a collective agreement covering wages 
and working conditions in laboratories has now taken 
place. The meeting was held on June 14th with Captain 
Paul Kimberley (National Screen Services) in the chair. 
Representatives of all except two of the laboratories were 
present. A.C.T. was represented by Mr. George H. 
Elvin (Secretary). Mr. Sidney Cole (Vice-President), Mr. 
R. Bartlett (General Council) and Messrs. H. Craik, 
F. Fuller and G. Hughes of the Laboratory Committee. 

An official statement issued by Capt. Kimberley 
after the meeting stated : — 

" A very good spirit prevailed at the meeting, and both 
sides realised they had a problem to faee. We are 
getting down to it with the object of bringing about a 
really amicable agreement thai would remove the pos- 
sibility of any disputes in the industry — at least, so 
far as She laboratories are concerned." 
( apt. Kimberley also stated that the employers and em- 
ployees present at the meeting represented 85% of the 
recognised film laboratories of the country. 

Mi'. Elvin, mi behalf of A.C.T.. associated himself 
with the above remarks, and it was agreed that no other 
statement should be issued. 

It is hoped that a further meeting will be held shortly, 
w hen we hope to be able to give a much fuller report to 
our members. 

GOOD ADVICE 

At the Annual General Meeting of A.C.T., held on 
Sunday, Maj 8th", an address was given 1>\ Mr. H. H. 
Elvin, Chairman of the T.L T .C. The gist of his remarks 
was that a large number of workers who join unions con- 
sider they have fulfilled their obligations bv paying their 
weekly subscriptions, and expect to get all the benefits 
of trade unionism without anj further effort on their part. 
This is true, we ieel, of some laboratory members. Do 
your fair share of work — get new members — attend meet- 
ings — help to organise socials. Deputise for committee- 
men when necessary. Working for the Association as a 
whole you will, in the Long run, materially benefit yourself. 

ODDS AND ENDS 

Who's the lab man that refers to the "gummy" side 
of the film '? 



"Humidity?" queried the printer, "we don't use it, 
old man. Try the developers, they're wet enough!" 

(Co)itinucd on previous page) 



60 THE CI N E - T E C H N I C I A N July-August. 1938 

POST OFFICE ON PARADE A STUDIO & EQUIPMENT FOR SALE 



OK April 28th, the G.P.O. Film Unit displayed its 
products with customary efficiency at the Piccadilly 
Theatre. Programmes were distributed by smartly 
turned out postmen, and the Secretary and myself 
were shown into the front row of the circle, a fact which 
shows that the documentary people really are realists. 

The first picture was a display film showing the unit 
at work and we noticed Norman McLaren doing a mas- 
terly piece of cutting. He also directed the next film 
"Book Bargain," which explained the compilation and 
printing of the London Telephone Directory. "Mony 3 
Pickle" was the next on the list and was made primarily 
for Scottish audiences at the Empire Exhibition, but I 
hope that other audiences will have an opportunity of see- 
ing the excellent use oi trick work in this picture. "Hig 
Money" explained the vast financial transactions of the 
G.P.O. ; a fine comedy touch, after showing the alloca- 
tion of £75,000,000 for annual expenses to the Post Office, 
was an altercation between one of the Treasury officials 
and his office boy about the reason for the daily cup of 
tea costing l|d. instead of Id. The difficulties of laying 
a telephone line in the mountains were admirably dealt 
with in "Tschierva Hut," produced in co-operation with 
the Swiss Telephone Administration, and a novelty 
silhouette film " The Tocher " made by Lotte Keiniger 
was most entertaining. The programme ended 
with "North Sea," which, contrary to current practice, 
included in its credit titles a certificate of authenticity, 
and dealt with radio telephony communication between 
the various shore stations and the fishing smacks at sea. 
It was one of those really human documentaries thai 
showed an unusual yet typical cross section of life and 
we take of? our hats to the location crew for its excellent 
work in rough weather afloat. 

The whole programme was most enjoyable and an 
effort will be made to include it in whole or in part in 
the next series of A.C.T. film shows. 

T. S. LYXDON-HAYNES 



The whirlwind of the "boom and slump" period lelt 
behind it a mass of wreckage that will not be straightened 
out for a long time yet. Much work will be necessary 
before the effects of the disaster can be lully assessed, 
but in the meantime it is important that someone should 
still have sufficient interest left in the affairs of 1930-37 
to try and clear the lines as speedily as possible to let the 
waiting traffic resume its course, though not, we hope, 
the course of those two years. 

There can be no doubt that the final estimate of the 
loss will be a high one. though the work of the wreckage 
cleaners will bring it down as much as possible. At the 
moment it is interesting to see how much has already 
been done in this direction. 

One of our good friends, who is vitally concerned in 
this work, gives the following list of available material : — 
Cameras, Debrie Super Parvo and Bell & Howell, none 
of which have been much used, and one of them turned 
lor a few weeks only on one picture, all of them in 
first-class condition; synchronous motors; a super-special 
zoom lens; and all necessary gadgets for the cameras; 
still cameras of several different makes; a whole stock 
of beautiful brand-new unused editing machines, micro- 
phones and booms, arm lights, cables, junction boxes, 
bought but unused stories and unshot scripts, dozens of 
films, complete and incomplete, and one whole studio 
with several stages. 

So, Mr. Independent Producer, we add yet another 
service to the functions of the A.C.T. , and can now 
supply you with practically even thing but artistes — a 
story almost ready to shoot, a studio to shoot it in, the 
gear to shoot it with — need we point out that the prices 
will never be lower? And last in order though first in 
importance, the service we have always put in the fore- 
ground of our work — the supply of first-rate technicians 
who know how to use that gear. 

Any enquiry should be addressed to the Secretary at 
this office. 14o Wardour Street, W.I., or bv 'phone to 
Gerrard 2305. 



THE MANOR HOUSE HOSPITAL 

THE day of the voluntary hospital is. I hope, rapidly 
passing. One might weep a sentimental tear for 
an institution which has served us nobly for some 
hundreds of years, were it not that it has already 
outlived its use and stays but to hamper the growth of 
the municipal or state hospital and a national medical 
service. 

The Manor Hov.ie Hospital, however, which is, under 
the present economic system, in the nature of a voluntary 
hospital, points to the future. Instead of spending up to 
Gd. for every shilling it collects, as in the case of the 
voluntary hospitals, it lives on the regular penny a week 
from tens of thousands of trade unionists either as indi- 
viduals or organised in their branches. This is not to say 
that acts of generosity are refused or that the hospital, 
which is ambitiously building luxurious new wings and 
buying the most modern electrical equipment, can dis- 
pense with such lucrative sources of income as "fetes, 
pound days, and football pools. But the subscribers who 
go t here are not objects of charity : and they do not have 
to pay what an almoner can squeeze out of them at a 
time when they can least afford it. Everything they need 
i3 theirs by right. Whether this has a phychologicai effect 
on patient or doctor, the results are excellent. I found 



it quite touching to talk to some of my ward mates who 
had made a depressing pilgrimage from hospital to hos- 
pital in search of a cure and spoke of the Manor House 
as of Paradise. 

The Manor House is not yet a perfect hospital. The 
cheerful nurses work, as everywhere, too long; and the 
patients are still awakened from their very comfortable 
beds at 5 a.m.. in the old hospital tradition. There is, of 
course, no special provision for convalescence such as the 
trade union hospitals have in the U.S.S.R. But under a 
system in which a worker is unavoidably treated as a 
unit of labour, and therefore of little value when disabled 
by sickness except as an object of charity, the Manor 
House Hospital is a beacon for the future. ^Yhen we run 
our own hospitals and give modern science its full oppor- 
tunity to cure and keep fit all of our people, the Manor 
House will be in the honoured position of an old pioneer. 

As a recent incumbent, I can't too warmly recommend 
members of A.C.T. to subscribe to it. It only costs a 
penny per week. In return members get free hospital 
treatment, as and when required, and dental and optical 
treatment at proportional rates. Your penny can be paid 
to your local Secretary with your A.C.T. subscriptions, 
or you can pay 4/4 a year direct to Head Office. 

M.G. 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



61 



MELIES EXHIBITION 

From '24th .May to 2nd June, the National Film 
Library held an exhibition at Mr. Itan Kyrle Fletcher's 
galleries in Old Bond Street to commemorate the career 
of Georges Melies. 

The exhibition consisted of stills, documents, etc., ar- 
ranged (by members of the G.P.O. Display Dept.,) in 
panels illustrating various aspects of his work. One of 
the most interesting showed the plan and elevations of 
the first studio, a glass building to which Melies added 
prop rooms, dressing rooms, etc. The film industry has 
made great strides in building and technical resources 
since 189t>, but Melies's films compare not unfavourably 
with much of the modern product in appreciation of the 
possibilities of cinema, and their imaginative use. 

Another panel illustrated Melies's interest in contem- 
porary events, with political cartoons and films of a left 



wing tendency, stills from bis reconstruction of the Drey- 
fus case, and preparatory sketches and notes for "The 
Coronation of Edward VII." Most fascinating of all were 
the fantastic drawings on which he based such films 
as "La Fee Libellule" and "Voyage a Travers 
L'Impossible, " and photographs and diagrams of the 
means by which he achieved his special effects. A 16mm. 
copy of part of "The Conquest of the Pole" demonstrated 
the actual working of these devices. 

The exhibition was certainly eloquent testimony of 
Melies's genius and of the cheerful and adventurous spirit 
in which he approached both his work and the vicissitudes 
of his later life. 

It is to be hoped, however, that trade unionism in 
the film industry, of which Melies was one of the pioneers, 
will secure that present day technicians do not have to 
spend thci>- old age in similar hardship. 

MAX ANDEKSON 



116 

Studios, Production Companies and Laboratories contacted 
791 

Technicians through the A.C.T. Employment Bureau during 
1937 

We can supply all Technical Staff Requirements for' 

Camera Sound Art Stills 
Editing & Cutting Floor & Production 
Scenario Newsreel Laboratory 

A.CT. EMPLOYMENT BUREAU 

(Licensed Annually by the L.C.C.) 

A SERVICE OF THE 

ASSOCIATION OF CINE-TECHNICIANS, us, wardour ST., London, w.1 

'Phone : GERRARD 2366 



62 



T HE CI N E-T E (' H N J C I A N 



July-Augus< . 1988 



A.C.T.'s. FIFTH ANNIVERSARY 



Delegates from 25 studios, laboratories and newsreel com- 
panies, and free-lance members, icere present at the 
Fifth Annual (General Meeting of the A ssoe iat ion of 

Cine-Technicians, held at Andertom's Hotel on Sunday, 
May 8th. 

PRESIDENTS AUUKESS. 

THK HON ANTHONY ASQUITH, in his Presidential 
address, stressed particularly the importance of 
every key technician belonging to A.C.T., not only 
from the point of view of the Association their 
value to us is obvious — but from their own point of view. 
Air. Asquith said : "The attitude of the Ace-technician who 
s:i\ s ' 1 am good enough to stand On in\ ow n. Why should 
I give my prestige to am Association'.'' is fortunately 
increasingly rare. Certainly the last year must have given 
one 01 two nasty shocks, but the truth is, I think, thai 
almost everyone realises that we who work in British films 
are not a collection of individuals but depend on each 
other and on the state of the British Film Induslrv in 



British film 

obvious." he 

companies to 




geiu pal, and it is onlj by combining and organising our- 
selves that we can hope to have any influence on that 
state. And concrete prool ot this can be found in the 

Quota Act. Unsatisfactory as the Films Act is in many 

ways, there is no doubt that it would have been very 
much worse but tor the efforts of ACT. and the other 
interested I'nions. I am convinced that any of you who 
had anything to do with our work on the Bill will support 
rue- 1 am convinced that but for long, continuous pres- 
sure from us many ol the improvements on the old Act 

would never have been obtained. They were not in the 
L927 Act —they are in the present Act . There could surely 
he no more convincing proof ol the value or organised 
opinion. " 

Mr. Asquith expressed the opinion that the Govern- 
ment, in its Films Act, lost a great opportunity of putting 
s on a firm foundation. "It is surely 
continued, "that merely to force foreign 
make or acquire films in this country is in 
no way in which to build up a stable in- 
dustry. The only man who has any right 
to protection is the British producer, and 
when a scheme was produced (the separa- 
tion of Renters' Irom Exhibitors' Quota) 
which did in tact preserve a corner of our 
home market for the home producer, the 
Films Bill Committee turned it down. By 
all means let us tax the importer in terms 
ot production — that any films should be 
made is certainly better that none should 
be made — but do not give him the oppor- 
tunity of using this pseudo-British pro- 
duction, this cuckoo-film, to oust the 
British film from its rightful nest. 

"Every film industry depends for its 
life not on its super-films but on its every- 
day bread-and-butter films, and it is like 
trying to build from the roof downwards 
to encourage chiefly the production of 
vastly expensive productions which can 
only recover their money (and this is 
doubtful) on American release, and neg- 
lect the film which can make its profit in 
the home market. 1'lease do not misun- 
derstand me. I am not a defeatest who 
supposes that no British film can have a 
world appeal. I am perfectly confident 
of our ability to produce such films, but 
I am sure that such films grow only 
naturally and heathily out of a rich soil of 
smaller home-market productions. From 
the point of view of A.C.T. there is also a 
further danger that the big expensive pic- 
tures may mean that technicians will be 
engaged on a picture-to-picture basis, and 
if this means, as seems likely, long 
periods of unemployment in between 
spasmodic periods of employment, the 
right type of persons will not be attracted 
to or remain in the industry." 



[Film Press photograph 
Anthony Asquith, re-eteeted A.C.T. President, snapped while 
directing at Pinewood Studios. 



July-August, 1938 



T HE CI N E - T E C H N I C I A N 



In conclusion. Air. Asquith made a plea for all mem- 
bers to give their Association the power to be a benefit 
not only to ourselves but to the industry as a whole. 
IMMEDIATE POLICY AND ACTIVITIES 

Air. Ralph Bond, on behalf of the General Council, 
moved a resolution (carried unanimously) on immediate 
policy and activities. Mr. Bond said "It has always 
been the policy and aim of A.C.T. to secure the utmost 
possible co-operation of all Unions and associations operat- 
ing in the industry." A.C.T. hoped to follow up the inter- 
union agreement with the N.A.T.K.E. by a similar agree- 
ment with the E.T.TJ., negotiations for which were well 
under way. Reference was also made to the very helpful 
co-operation of the British Association of Film Directors 
and the Screenwriters' Association, in connection villi 
the Films Bill, and it was hoped that these friendly rela- 
tions would be maintained and extended to cover all mat- 
ters of common interest. 

CONTRIBUTING INSURANCE SCHEME 

Air. S. Hawes (Treasurer), in speaking to a resolution 
advocating a contributory insurance scheme, said that for 
some while the General Council had been paying attention 
to the setting up of some such scheme, and although if 
was fraught with difficulties he felt confident that before 
long it would be possible for some such proposals to be 
put before our members. The recent slump in the in- 
dustry had shown the very great need for such insurance. 
FRATERNAL DELEGATE 

Mr. Herbert H. Elvin, President of the T.U.C., ad- 
dressed the meeting and said, in referring to the new 
Films Act, that the Board of Trade had a very hue oppor- 
tunity of putting the industry on its feet by freeing the 
British industry from Americanisation. but that to a large 
extent it had failed to grasp that opportunity. "1 have 
known Mr. Oliver Stanley for many years.*' said Mr. 
Elvin, "in spheres other than that of President <>f the 
Board of Trade, and I want to sa\ that from what I 
know ot him there is no one w ho could doubt his sincerity . 
But I think it is \er\ important, and should be remem- 
bered, that the greatest danger to progress is sincerity 
harnessed to misunderstanding. The Government in its 
original intentions no doubl meant well. Oliver Stanley 
expressed the desire, and emphasised it on more than one 
occasion, to bring about the maximum amount of benefii 
to the industry possible, and he believed that as a resul'! 
oi his measure thai would be the ease. But we who 
criticise the Hill teel that he listened more to the views 
of American finance controlling British interests than to 
the advice of those who know the industry and its require- 
ments from personal experience. The Act is better than 
the Hill. And I think, very rightly, that you can take 
credit for much oi the improvement thai has been se- 
cured. A.C.T. itself should be congratulated upon the 
fine work which was put in bv the membership in order 
to bring pressure to bear upon the Government. And 
there is no doubt that the improvements which have 
been secured are mainlx due to the initiative, the deter- 
mination and the whole-hearted endeavour of the leaders 
of your movement. In fact. I am satisfied that A.C.T. 
was the spear-head of the attach upon the Government. 
May I say. on behalf of the General Council of the T.U.C., 
that we were very pleased indeed to he able to associate 
ourselves with your efforts, and 1 hope that those of you 
who were connected w ith ns in our collaboration with yon 
will agree that even we can say we played a not altogether 
unimportant part in the role which we adopted to support 
the endeavours which you put forward." 



ANNUAL REPORT AND ACCOUNTS 

The Annual Report and Accounts, summarised in 
our last issue, were carried unanimously, alter a general 
discussion on many of the points covered. 

ELECTION OF OFFICERS 

The following principal officers were elected : — 
President, Anthony Asquith ; Vice-Presidents. Sidney 
Cole, Thorold Dickinson, Kenneth Gordon, Ivor Alontagu, 
E. Thorne; Treasurer, Stanley Hawes; Trustees, E. Cave- 
Chirin, J. Neill-Brown; Auditors, Miss Toni Roe, A. J. W. 
Nurton. 



THE ARTISTIC FUTURE OF FILMS 

OX Wednesday, May 25th, the first "Peter le Neve 
Foster" Lecture was given at the Royal Society 
ot Arts at 8 p.m. The subject was "The Artistic 
Future of Films," and was delivered by Mr. A. E. 
W. Mason. This choice of subject was appropriate because 
it was in 1853, Peter le Neve Foster's first year of office 
as Secretary of the Royal Society of Arts, that the Royal 
Photographic Society was founded as a direct result of 
discussions inaugurated by the Society, incidentally it 
was not. ot course, founded under that name, but was 
known as "The Photographic Society of London," which 
name was changed in 1874 to "The Photographic Society 
ot Great Britain" and modified by Royal Command in 
1894 to its present title. 

Mr. Mason, in the opening stages ot his lecture, dealt 
with the early history of picture production, mentioning 
that even in 1922 statistics showed that on an average 
the whole population of Great Britain attended a cinema 
show once a fortnight. Nowadays the film was even more 
an integral part ot daily life and he stressed the value of 
the film as an educational and propaganda force but ap- 
peared dubious as to its value as an art form. He thought 
that the mechanical and industrial sides ot the industry 
had received greater attention than the artistic, but fol- 
lowed this up with the somewhat surprising statement 
that lie was unable to distinguish the voice of one news- 
reel commentator [rom that of another. He thought that 
the only reason that voices appeared to be different on 
the sci ecu w as because the eye was seeing different char- 
acters and though the theatre was in "no danger" from 
the cinema since the mechanical voice had not the same 
rapport as the spoken word, nevertheless Mr. Mason felt 
there was a fear of a generation growing up that had no 
knowledge of the higher art of the theatre. 

In the adaption of a novel, however, Mr. Mason 
thought that the cinema had the advantage of the theatre 
because the latter was handicapped by the need for ex- 
planatory dialogue, but he appeared to support the view- 
that most novels adapted for the screen suffered in the 
process. the author of "The Drum" felt that in the 
future authors would have to write tor the screen in the 
hist place and would have to have a large share in the 
direction of a production. 

It was unfortunate that no discussion followed the 
lecture, otherwise Messrs. Sinclair Hill and Michael 
Powell who were in the audience might perhaps have re- 
plied to the more controversial of the speaker's remarks, 
and then I, for one, need not have left with the impres- 
sion that the real title of the lecture should have been 
"The Artistic Future of Films. If Any." 

T. S. LYNDON-HAYNES 



T h e 



C I N E-T E C H N J C 1 A N 



July-August. 1986 



Recent Publications 



MY WIFE'S THE LEAST OF IT 

By WILLIAM GERHARD] (Faber & Faber, LO/6 net) 
The world of films is fair game for any novelist, and 
anyone who can cash in on it is perfectly at liberty to 
do so. Mr. Gerhard] docs BO. He does not realise, per- 
haps, quite how crazy a world it is, but that is no shame 
to him. His readers will no doubt regard as satire his 
very sober account of it. 

This book tells of the attempts of one Charles Bald- 
ridge, a writer with one best-selling novel to his credit — 
a best-seller, alas, of many years ago — to sell the film 
rights of this same novel. In collaboration with a 
scenario-writer he prepares script after script ; here, to 
satisfy the -eported wishes of some producer, inserting 
an earthquake; there changing the heroine from an Jnsh 
colleen, or was it a London girl, to a darkie ; now bringing 
the story Up to date by including the Coronation. His 
scripts are never refused, everyone who sees them is 
keen on them — "as keen as mustard," his agent keeps 
repeating — but no one ever does anything about them. 
Mr. Bald-idge's financial condition goes from bad to 
worse, and still the scripts lie on the tables of half a 
dozen producers. In the end. to everyone's relief, except 
apparently his own, he marries an ext"emel\ rich woman 
and spends the rest of his days in the administration of 
charities. 

In unfolding this story, Mr. Gerhardi has achieved 
the seeming impossible. He has written a book in which 
none of the characters accomplishes anything definite in 
the whole 5f)0 pages. Some of the minor figures, it is 
true, buy and sell film companies from time to time, but 
we never come upon them actually doing this. We just 
hear at second-hand that it has been done. To give Mr. 
Baldridge his due, he eventually performs two quite defi- 
nite actions. He steals a pocket-book from the hated Gus 
Oppenheimer, supreme head of O.K. Pictures — or is it 
Super-Fine Productions Inc. — or both ; and he marries the 
wealthy Adelaide Crosland. But even so he cannot be 
given lull marks, it was less a case of Mr. Baldridge 
marrying Miss Oosland than of Miss Crosland marrying 
Mr. Baldridge. And after the marriage indecision evi- 
dently returned, for we a>'e told that it was never con- 
summated. Having, too, stolen Gus Oppenheimer's wal- 
let in a moment of drunken inspiration, he proceeds in 
the sober light of the following morning to distribute 
evidence in the shape of bank notes amongst his creditors, 
thereby forfeiting his claim to be regarded as the "normal 
man," and qualifying to rank on the same level of lunacy 
as the other characters around him. 

Perhaps this negative treatment is not such a bad 
thing. Film technicians, at any rate, accustomed to re- 
gard action as essential to a film story, may learn some- 
thing from a novel of complete inaction. 

But one questions whether Mr. Gerhardi was wise 
to choose quite so negative a sto>-y. He has been driven 
as a result to preserve the interest by forcing the humour, 
forgetting, one fears, his own assertion that "no one 
can be deliberately humorous." He wears down his 
readers with the same inevitability as the dilatoriness of 
the film magnates wears down Mr. Baldridge. But the 



reader will find that he has a keen interest in the fortunes 
of the various scripts and lorges ahead as fast as he can 
in the hope that sooner or later something will happen 
to one of them. 

In the end, and this may be useful to film techni- 
cians, we are introduced to organised charity as a method 
of making money, alternative, and even superior, to the 
films. And il Mr. Gerhardi's conclusion is that ChariU 
is a bigger racket even than films, who are we to quarrel 
with that? 

S.G.H. 

A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO AMATEUR 
PHOTOGRAPHY 

By Marcel Natkiu. Coronet Camera Co., 2/G net. 

This book is, on the whole, very good. It contains 
an enormous amount of information, all of it useful, and 
it is almost inevitable, therefore, that it must be vague 
and sketchy in many places. Still. I think something a 
bit nearer the truth could have been managed on page 11. 
where the author says F 2.2 is halt as fast as F 1.4, and 
F 3.5 half the speed of F 2.2. and so on. "Half is 
really a good bit out. Still, in practice it hardly matters. 

On page 117; — "a 'de-sensitised' plate or film c annot 
be fogged . • . the emulsion is no longer sensitive to light." 
It is true that a de-sensitised emulsion can be developed 
by yellow (or any other) light, but it can most certainly 
be fogged, notwithstanding, if too strong light is used. 

On pages 85 and 86, why does the author continually 
refer to "super-charged" lamps by that name? Surely it 
would have been better to call them by the names by 
which they are usually known. Jn any case, does he 
mean "type K" or "Photoflood" lamps? 

Also he is vague sometimes, when giving exposure in- 
structions, about the kind of film pan, superpan or ortho, 
w hich the photographer is supposed to be using. 

But compared w ith the large amount of correct and 
useful information, the few inaccuracies are of little 
account. The book is well-planned and laid out and easy 
to read. The illustrations explain points very clearly, and 
the diagrams are particularly ingenious and lucid. 

W. J. McL. 

WE MAKE THE MOVIES 

Edited by Xancy Kaumberg (Faber & Faber, 10/6) 
Undoubtedly the most thorough exposition of the 
technical side of Hollywood yet written, the contributors 
all being experts in different departments. Its particular 
appeal is to the lay public but it's eminently readable to 
anyone. 

Everyone describes his own job and one can particu- 
larly commend the chapter by Max Steiner. music direc- 
tor of Radio — the man who scored "The Informer." I 
say this without bias, for I am no musician. He lets 
us into little tricks of his trade, discusses the instruments 
he likes and dislikes for background music, the use of 
tempi to suit moods and to help out the pace of the 
film, using, for instance, quick music for slow scenes, and 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



65 



then tells us how he breaks his own rules as often as 
not. He illustrates his points with part ot the score he 
wrote for "The Informer. " Other very interesting chap- 
ters are by Sydney Howard, who adapted "Dodsworth, " 
Lansing 0. Holden, the man who designed the colour in 
"A Star is Born." and Walt Disney's enthralling account 
of the making of Mickys, Sillys and Snowys. Through- 
out the illustrations are interesting and pertinent. 

I was disappointed in the chapter written by Jesse 
Lasky, the producer. It was rather impersonal in tone 
and full of postulates for the ideal producer which we agree 
with but find platitudinous. Director John Cromwell's 
views about cutting are interesting, but here too there's 
too much of the impersonal. What does Mi-. Cromwell 
think of his fellow directors or of the actors he's handled? 
Maybe one asks too much, but there's no harm in asking. 

The actors represented are Paul Muni and Bette 
Davis. Excellent choices on their merits as actors. Muni 
tells us about the pains he takes to get into a part and 
Miss Davis tells us how much she looks up to and thinks 
of her public. Which is flattering to us all but dull read- 
ing. But amends are made by a number of technicians; 
the set construction of "Angel." the cutting of the 
"Crusades," the assistant director's work in " Bengal 
Lancers," are told of by the experts concerned. The head 
of Warners' sound department gives a thorough historical 
and, within the limits of a chapter, technical resume ot 
motion picture sound. 

So that there really is something for everybody, in- 
cluding a helpful hint from Samuel Marx, story chief of 
M.G.M., for unknown storvw liters to send their treat- 
ments direct to the scenario editors, naming them. On 
Mr. Marx's head be it. 

Finally, Miss Naumberg heads a plea, endorsed by 
Sidney Howard, for a freer, more tolerant censorship and 
convinces us — or at least me — that Hollywood is fettered 
into the chains of story cycles by the manacling influences 
of world censorship and Wall Street capital, reinforced 
by the differing tastes of country and town, the hicks and 
the sticks. Which means that when a film does hit off 
with town and country alike, it automatically starts a 
cycle of like films, all playing tor b.o. safety. 

Put this hook into the hands of your friends outside 
the trade and they'll stop asking you what hack projec- 
tion is, or dubbing, or tracking, or panning. Which is 
a very good reason for them all to read it. 

NEIL TV FIELD 

FOREIGN TECHNICIANS IN 1937 

THE MINISTRY OF LABOUR REPORT for the 
year 1937 (II. M. Stationery Office, price 2/- net) 
gives the usual statistics concerning the admission 
of foreign labour into this country. 

The report states that the policy of the Department 
during 1937 remained unchanged. The number of appli- 
cat'onn tor foreign workers dealt with during 1937 was 
24,431, over six thousand more than in an\ previous year. 
There were, however, less applications tor film techni- 
cians. This is due, of course, as technicians will know, 
not to a change of policy by producers but through a slump 
which resulted in considerably less production. 

Applications were, as usual, dealt with under two 
groups : (1) Permits in respect of foreigners who are abroad 
at the time of the application. These were dealt with by 
the Ministry of Labour. (2) Permits for foreigners already 
in this country, which are dealt with by the Home Office. 



The Ministry of Labour makes a favourable or unfavour- 
able recommendation in each case. 

In the first category 9 applications out of 62 were 
refused. In the second group 17 unfavourable recom- 
mendations were made out of 36 applications. 

The following table shows the figures for the past 
three years : — 

1935 1936 1937 

Permits Permits Permits 

Granted Refused Granted Refused Granted Refused 
Group (a) ..84 3 118 20 53 9 

Group (b) ..26 9 39 24 19 17 



Totals 110 12 157 44 



26 



L935 1936 1937 

Percentage Refused 10% 22% 26% 

A.C.T's. policy during the past three years has, there- 
fore, resulted in a continual improvement. But the posi- 
tion is still far from satisfactory. Permits are still being 
granted to foreign technicians who are not superior, and 
in some cases definitely inferior to available British techni- 
cians. Representations to the Ministry ot Labour will be 
continued during the forthcoming year with a view to still 
further improvements in the number of refusals or un- 
favourable recommendations, as the case mav be. 

^ G.H.E. 



Indian Films Rim 45 Weeks 

"Runs of 45 to 56 weeks in one house are becoming 
a regular thing for Indian films being shown in India," 
states Mr. W. A. Bach, Managing Director of Western 
Electric, who has just returned from a survey of India 
and the Near East. "Production and story values in 
native pictures are improving and the popularity of the 
Indian film may create a problem for British and American 
producers if they are to obtain an increasing amount of 
business from this great and growing market." 

"Native films are produced in two main languages, 
Hundustani and Tamil. Numerous dialects are used in 
sub-titles so that the audience always gets a compre- 
hensive story. 

"Second runs in many cases bring more money than 
first runs in India," Mr. Bach went on to say. "People 
go to see the same picture as often as twenty times. I 
was informed that in one small theatre in Ceylon, a first 
run drew 800 rupees, a second 1,100 rupees and a third 
2,500 rupees. Admissions are down to a minimum of 
4 annas, which great masses of the population can afford. 
Exhibitors running Indian pictures told me that they are 
making fine profits. Already the producers of Indian pic- 
tures are finding that they cannot get openings for new 
pictures due to these long runs. However, I am informed 
British films in India are expected to have their biggest 
showing this year." 

"At the moment only one per cent of India's 300 
millions are cinema patrons. As the habit grows, it needs 
only a two per cent attendance to make the country a 
veritable treasure cave for the film industry." 

Mr. Bach found that following the introduction of 
Mirrophonic Sound, sales of Western Electric equipment 
in India have increased sharply during the past six 
months ; since October a number of India's de luxe houses 
have installed or are installing Mirrophonic, among them 
the Metro, Calcutta; Pathe, Bombay, Palace, Karachi; 
Pathe, Rangoon, and the New Olympia in Colombo. 



(36 



THE (IN E-T BCHNICIAN 



July-August, 1088 



Technical Abstracts 



MULTI-LA YEE FILM SOUND TRACKS 

An Interesting Method oi Processing 

An interesting Patent Abstract is published by the 
British Patent Office describing a method oi processing 
a sound track on a multi-layer film negative. The Abstract 
is numbered 407, 014 — Photographic colour and sound 
films, Kodak, Ltd. (Eastman Kodak Co.), and is described 
thus : — 

A inulti-laver colour sound picture film has the sound 
track composed ol silver sulphide and situated on the 
front emulsion layer. W hen the Him is to be processed 
to a negative, the sound track is copied through a filter 
which cuts out light to which the Lower laj ers arc sensitive. 

If the upper layer is blue sensitive, the copying is 
done through a blue filter, a yellow filter being disposed 
over the other layers. 

If the film is processed by reversal two methods are 
used. In one method, the upper layer is copied as above 
and the under layers are then fully exposed to light to 
which they are sensitive. Upon reversal the under layers 
are entirely clear and the image is leit in the upper layer 
only. 

In the other method, the exposure light is such that 
it will correctly expose the upper layer and over-expose 
the under layers, e.g., orange yellow light for use with an 
upper blue sensitive layer. The conversion oi the sound 
track image to silver sulphide may be effected at any stage 
of the processing. 

In the method described in Specifications 440,032 and 
447,002. after development oi all layers to minus red and 
fixing, the sound track is bleached to a silver halidc or salt 
by an application roller and immersed in a solution of a 
soluble sulphide. Suitable bleaching baths are specified 
and ine'ude ferri cyanides, copper chloride, iodine and 
chromic acid. 

The film may also be exposed to gaseous hydrogen 
sulphide, the sound track being selectively wetted by a 
roller and water, passed through halogen vapour, and 
later through a mixture of ammonia and hydrogen sul- 
phide, the gases being contained in long vertical chambers 
with suction devices at their upper ends. The humidity 
in the gas-toning operation is controlled to prevent edge- 
drying. The free sulphide is finally washed from the film 
by a spray of water. 

Alternatively a liquid sulphide bath may be applied 
by an applicator roller and may comprise sodium sulphide, 
glycerine, quinone, and hydrochloric acid. Specifications 
382,506 [Group XXXVIII], and 440.089 also are referred 
to. 

— Kinemato graph Weekly 

LOW KEY LIGHTING AS EASY IN COLOUR AS IX 
MONOCHROME says W. HOWARD GREEXE, A.S.C 

LOW key lighting can be even more effective in colour 
than in black and white, and is every bit as easy 
and as practical. When the three-colour Techni- 
color process was first introduced limitations in 
processing restricted the range of visual brightnesses 
which a cinematographer could attempt. Also much of 
the spot-lighting equipment used dated back to the pre- 
fcalkie days of orthochromatic film and "hard" light and 



there was a lack of adequate medium and low-powered 
spotlighting units. Consequently a good foundation oi 
general lighting had to be laid -key and modelling light- 
ing being built up as best one could. This often meant 
the use o| moie light and lamps than were desirable 
and limited the range of effects which COUld safely be 

attempted- 

But now the spotlights used on Technicolor sets are 
markedly in advance of the types most frequently used on 
black and white production, ranging from the handy little 
65 amps, spot to the 150 amps. Ultra ILL Arc. all based 
on the Fresnel-lensed optical system, with smooth, con- 
trollable, and flexible beams. They burn steadily and 
quietly and only one need be used where two were for- 
merly needed, which in itseli broadens the range of pos- 
sible effects. Laboratory processing has also improved in 
a multitude of details. 

As a result, in photographing "A Star is Horn," I 
found myself approaching parity with the lighting levels 
and balances the average monochrome cinematographer 
would use for the same scenes. In modern Technicolor, 
lighting can be flatter than in black and white since with 
the advantage of natural colour contrasts, lighting con- 
trasts are not nearly so necessary. 

This flatter— or rather softer — lighting is achieved 
by economising on the number of sources used and by 
restraining the amount of back and rim lighting used. 
Also we can now use smaller units — (:o amps, for 00 amps., 
or 90 amps, in place of the 36-in. Sun Arc needed in 
"Becky Sharp." 

In low key monochrome scenes it is often very effec- 
tive to have relatively strongly lit actors moving in front 
of a dark background. This effect is even more striking 
in colour — the natural colour of complexions and costumes 
furnishing a striking natural contrast, without having to 
use back lighting in order to give separation from the 
background. 

A normal illumination level gives a normal colour 
rendition — with less light colour darkens until with com- 
plete absence of light the most brilliantly coloured area 
can appear virtually black. 

Balancing shadows in Technicolor is no more of a 
problem than in black and white. In fact between the 
more efficient lighting equipment used for Technicolor 
and the more natural lightings possible, modern colour 
cinematography is actually simpler than black and white. 

— A merican Cinematographer 

A HORX CONSISTING OF MANIFOLD 
EXPONENTIAL SECTIOXS. H. P. Olsen. 

The expression for the throad inpedance of a horn 
w ith two rates of exponential flare have been derived. This 
expression is applicable to any number of sections by con- 
sidering two sections at a time. The impedance-frequency 
characteristic of specific multiple horns shows the pos- 
sibility of obtaining a large variety of impedance charac- 
teristics suitable for improving the efficiency characteristic 
over that possible with a single rate of flare. The effi- 
ciency of a horn type of loud speaker having a horn with 
three rates of flare shows an efficiency within a few per 
cent of the ultimate efficiency. 

— Journal of the Soeiety of Motion Picture Engineers 



July-August, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



07 



DIFFICULTIES OF SOUND TRACK PRINTING 

Suggestions For Overcoming Shrinkage 

Some of the difficulties of sound-track printing are 
discussed in papers in Kinoiechnik. In the first, after 
comparing the relative advantages of constant-gamma and 
test-strip picture development, and the effect upon sound, 
the question of shrinkage is dealt with. 

It is pointed out that if while the negative moves 
across the printing slit there is sufficient shrinkage to cause 
a relative movement between the two films of half a wave- 
length of the frequency recorded on the track, that fre- 
quency will be almost entirely lost, since every point of 
the positive will be equally exposed while traversing the 
printing slit. 
Reasons For Losses 

The high-frequency losses are dependent upon the 
shrinkage of the negative, the width of the printing slit, 
and the frequency to be copied. Curves are reproduced 
showing the relationship between these factors, which in- 
dicate, for instance, that using a printer slit of 4.75 mm. 
(3/16 in.) and with a 3 per cent negative shrinkage, an 
8,000-cycle frequency will be attentuated by a little over 
40 per cent of its original amplitude, a 0,000-cycle fre- 
quency by 38 per cent, and a 4,000-cycle frequency by 
25 per cent. 

These figures, however, assume a continuous slippage 
between the two films, which in practice is not generally 
the case ; the slip occurs at intervals of one perforation. 
Further curves show the effect of this intermittent slip 
at 6.000-cycles in terms of different slit widths, from 3/16 
in. to one-tenth of this width, the narrower slit naturally 
showing the smaller loss. 

A compensation for a fixed shrinkage can. of course 
be provided by running the films over a drum. If the 
negative is shrunk more or less than the amount of com- 
pensation, there is then only the difference in negative 
shrinkage that affects the definition. 
The Non-Slip Printer 

The paper continues with a description of the non-slip 
printer, a subject which is further elaborated in the next 
two papers. The second summarises papers which have 
appeared in the S.M.P.E. Journal, while the third illus- 
trates a printer embodying a similar principle, developed 
by Tobis. It is made under American patent No. 
1,784,187, from which the appended sketch is reproduced. 




The New Tobis Printer. 

The sound drum Z' has a flywheel, and is driven by the 
negative film, which is damped and filtered by the system 



Z. The positive runs in contact with the negative under 
the pressure roller D, the length of loop, and hence the 
curvature of the positive, depending upon the negative 
shrinkage, as shown in dotted lines. The positive is- 
guided laterally by the device F, consisting of one fixed 
guide and a spring-controlled roller. 

Although the size of the pressure roller D may seem 
immaterial, it is nevertheless important in connection 
with passing joins. The most suitable pressure for this 
roller is about 1 lb. The width of the light beam on the 
film is 0.2 mm. and its angle 6 deg. A 6-volt 30-watt 
printing lamp is used. 

The machine is fitted with a foot-numbering device 
and automatic light control. It has been in use in the 
Tobis laboratories since October, 1937. Tests made by 
printing negative perforations through to the positive have 
shown that there is practically no relative displacement 
between the two films affecting the synchronism of the 
track and picture. 

Another new printer described is the Klangfilm opti- 
cal sound printer, for reducing from 35 mm. to 16 mm. or 
enlarging from 16 mm. to 35 mm. The machine can also 
be used as a contact printer for either gauge of film. The 
feed of both films is very efficiently filtered. The printing 
slit can be varied from 0.01 mm. to 1 mm. 

— Kinemato graph Weekly 



RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN 
BACKGROUND-PROJECTION. G. G. Popovici. 

The complexity of background projection is generally 
known. It has been widely applied in cinematography 
with great success. A new field offers tremendous oppor- 
tunity, namely, still photography. Two types of back- 
ground projector are described, one to cover screens up 
to 10 x 12 ft., the other up to 13 x 18 ft. The following 
elements of the problem are discussed. 

(1) The spot condition: what causes it and how to 
reduce it entirely. (2) Screen texture : nitrate or acetate 
base sprayed with polarizing material for diffusion (flat- 
light type); the new Trans- Lux screen of the high- 
transmission type. (3) Theory of light refraction through 
screen. (4) Light brightness vs. diffusion of screen (5) 
Optical conditions, condensers, objective lenses, etc. 
(6) Light-source : brightness vs. current, behaviour of dif- 
ferent types of carbons ; spectral consideration in color 
projection. (7) Cooling the slides with refrigerated air. 
(8) Electrical and optical characteristics, remote control 
of arc, douser, air-cooling system. 

--Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers 



A METHOD OF ENLARGING THE VISUAL 
FIELD OF THE MOTION PICTURE. B. Schlanger. 

Recent trends toward the smaller sized motion pic- 
ture audience indicate that new considerations, can be 
given to the possibility of a larger and differently shaped 
screen, retaining the 35mm. film. The screen is pictured 
as completely occupying the entire forefront of the 
motion picture auditorium, assuming a space stage instead 
of an artificially framed picture. 

— Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers 



68 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



July-August, 1986 





Now ai a very early age, 
W hen Chaplin was upon 

the stage, 
And I iiihitscli onl\ smoked 

a pipe, 

And villains were a standard 
type ; 

When Sternberg looked like 
other men, 

(Tie didn't wear a turban 
then '.). 

A curly-headed boy - 
that's me — 

Would sit and watch in 

eestasy, 

Those dramas of the silver 

screen, 

And gorgeous panoramic 
scene. 

A young heart filled with 
ardent zeal 

To learn this art, conic 

what will ; 
To he a star — oh what 

ambition ! — 
Or even just an electrician. 
Anything in fact would do, 
A member of a camera crew 
Assistant to a something- 

sort-of, 
'Cos clapper boys weren't 

even thought of. 
So when in early teens, 

I went 
And saw a most obliging 

gent, 

In a studio far away, 
Who paid me half a crown 
a day, 

For opening doors of limousinfes 

To glamorous stars and would-have-beens. 




The 

Pigswill 
Saga 



Until I got another job 
At something Hearing thirty bob, 
Por holding tripods, cleaning lenses, 
And running errands, plus expenses; 
Time went on, oh what progression! 
Till there arrived a new digression: 
Talkies, Quotas, then the Quickies, 

Something happened to our "fliekies." 

Lots of guys with influence 

And dough, but no experience, 

Turned out feet and feet of tripe. 

Though we got blamed — you bet yer life. 

And other companies just grow'd 

But where they went to no one know d. 

Well now you've heard this tale of woe, 

Which ain't so bad as Sagas go; 

And here we come to writing verse ( .'l 

And doing draw ings — even worse ; 

A far cry from that first ambition 

To be a Star or electrician . . . . ! 



THE CINE TECHNICIAN 



PUBLISHED Six Issues per annum (January, 
March, May, July, September, November). 

Editorial Committee: 

Max Anderson, Sidney Cole, George H. Elvin, 
Kenneth Gordon. 



Subscription Rate. 

9d. per copy; lid. post free. 5/6 per annum, 
post free. 

Special A.C.T. Members' Rates. 

6d. per copy; 8d. post free. 4/- per annum, 
post free. 

Order through any A.C.T. Studio, Laboratory 
or Newsreel representative, any branch of 
W. H. Smith Gr Son, Ltd., or direct from 
the A.C.T., 145, Wardour Street, W.l. 



BE LL- H OWE IX 



THE MOST 



VERSATILE 
CAMERA FOR 
PROFESSIONAL 



WORK 





Small illustration shows the Eyemo fitted 
with magazines and motor drive, ready for 
any contingency inside or outside the studio. 
The mobility of this unit makes it a very 
desirable acquisition on those occasions 
when the bulkier apparatus is out of the 
question. 



Prominent executives and ace camera men have expressed their 
enthusiastic approval of the Eyemo Camera. Both as an adjunct to 
the studio equipment and particularly because of its ease of handling 
for outdoor newsreel work. 

The Eyemo, because of the exacting demands made upon it, has been 
constructed to achieve quality in performance combined with a sturdy 
robustness. 

The three lens turret, focussing and diaphragm controls visible 
through the spy glass viewfinder, interchangeability of auxiliary 
electric motors, and external film magazines, standard S.M.P.E. sound 
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these features and many more constitute the reason for the Eyemo's 
popularity among those professionals who know a good thing. 



BELL & HOWELL CO. LTD. 

Since 1907 the world's largest manufacturers of precision equipment for motion picture 
studios of Hollywood and the World 

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No — we have not come over Fascist or any other "ist". All we want to 
convey is that we have a production programme in hand to meet your 
future requirements and we are pressing forward with it as fast 
as "quality first" considerations permit. Some of our forth- 
coming releases should create a mild stir . . . the Camma 
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standard productions will receive the same care 
and attention as ever, but if you are on 
the lookout for developments in 
development, the name to 
watch is . . . 




Avanti ! ! 



Vinten 




W. VINTEN LTD., 106, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, 

Telephone : Gerrard 4792. Cables : Vintacinni, London. 
WORKS : NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD, CRICKLEWOOD, N.W.2. 'Phone: GLADSTONE 



Published by the Proprietors, The Association of Cine-Technicians, 145, Wurdour Street, London, W.i., and printed lor 

by The Swindon Press Ltd., Newspaper House, Swindon, Wilts. 




PAUL ROBESON 
TELLS US WHY 




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ASSOCIATED TALKING PICTURES 



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Ronald Neame 
Ronnld Neame 
Ronald Neame 



George Stretton 
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It's in the Air 
Penny Wise . 
I See Ice . • 

BRITISH LION 

I've Got a Horse . 
Around the Town 

FOX-BRITISH 

Second Thoughts . . . Ronald Neome 
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The Last Barricade . . . James Wi/son 
Who Go^s Next ' Ronald Neome 

The Clayton Treasure Mystery . James Wilson 

GAINSBOROUGH PICTURES 

The Lady Vanishes . . . Jack Cox 

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Alf's Button Afloat . . . Arthur Crobtree 

GAU MO NT-BRITISH 

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Strange Boarders . . . Jock Cox 

GEO. KING PRODUCTIONS 

John Halifax — Gentleman 



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Coming of Age . , . 

G. & S. FILMS 

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Sixty Glorious Years (in Techni- 
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Over the Moon (in Technicolor) . Harry Slrodlmg 

MANCUNIAN FILMS 

Calling All Crooks . . Desmond Dickinson 

MAYFLOWER PICTURES 

St. Martin's Lane . . Jules Kruger 

METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER BRITISH 

The Citadel .... Horry Stradlmg 

NEW GEORGIAN PRODUCTIONS 

You're the Doctor . . Geoffrey Foilhfull 



Geoffrey Fmthfull 
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George Stretton 

F. A. Young 
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Incident m Shanghai . Froncn Carver 

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Pygmahon ..... Harry Stradlmg 

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A Spot of Bother . . . Proncis Carver 
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Everything Happens To Me . 
Dangerous Medicine 
Return of Carol Dean . 
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Kate Plus Ten . .Roy Ktlltno 

WELWYN STUDIOS (FOR PATHE) 



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Almost a Honeymoon 



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★AMERICAN PRODUCTIONS* 



COLUMBIA 

Romantic Age 

Wings of Doom . . . 
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Lady Lawyer 

You Can't Take It With You 
An Edwin G. Robinson 
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Too Hot to Handle . . . Rosson 
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love Finds Andy Hardy . . White 
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Touchdown Army 
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RKO 

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Room Service 
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Mr. Doodle Kicks Off 
Mother Carey's Chicken 
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Safety in Numbers . 
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Meet the Girls 
Kidnapped . 
Four Men and a Prayer 
Always Goodbye 
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Lucky Penny 

UNIVERSAL 

Road to Reno .... Robinson 
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Little Tough Guy . . . Bredell 
Freshman Year .... Bredell 
That Certain Age . . . Valentine 
Youth Takes a Fling . . . Mote 
Mad About Music . . . Volentine 
Letter of Introduction . . Freund 

The Rage of Pans • . . . Valentine 
Afraid to Talk .... Robinson 
Sinners in Paradise . . . Robinson 

WARNERS 

Devil's Island .... Bornes 
The Sisters .... Goudio 
Angels with Dirty Faces . . Po/ito 
Wings of the Navy . . . Edeson 
Brother Rat .... Holler 
Blackwells Island . . . Hickox 
Heart of the North . . . O'Connell 
Curtain Call .... Howe 
Head over Heels . . Rosher 
Valley of the Giants (in Techni- 
color) Po/ito 

Three Girls on Broadway . . O'Connell 

Unlawful Hickox 

Jezebel Holler 

Robin Hood (in Technicolor) . Po/ito 
Garden of the Moon . . . Gaudio 
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse . Gaudio 
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Girls on Probation • . Todd 

Boy Meets Girl . . . Po/ito 



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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 

The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. Telephone: GERRARD 2366. 
Advertisement Office: 5 and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, W.C.I. Telephone: HOLBORN 4972. 



Volume Four: Number Seventeen SEPTEMBER — OCTOBER, 1938 



Price Ninepence 



TELEVISION 

by 

T. C. MACNAMARA 



A resume of a lecture given to the 
Association of Cine-Technicians 



TELEVISION has a certain amount in com 
moii with motion pictures in that both 
bring to the viewer the impression of a sus- 
tained picture, which is actually made up from 
transitory images reproduced on the screen with 
such rapidity than the persistence of the viewer's vision 
serves to bridge the gaps between successive images. 

The similarity between the two processes, however, 
ceases at this point, on account of the differences in the 
media through which the images are produced. In 
cinematography, the moving picture is built up by pro- 
jecting upon the screen a series of time-related still pic- 
tures, or : 'irames," each frame being a photographic 
reproduction of a complete scene, and being projected in 
its entirely by means of a beam of light. 

Projected in this manner, the film constitutes a three- 
dimensional medium, being able to convey simultaneously 
two dimensions relating to area and the third dimension 
relating to density, and is thus admirably adapted to con- 
vey picture intelligence which is essentially three- 
dimensional. 

Turning to television, however, the necessity arises 
for transmitting picture intelligence through electrical 
channels which are only capable of accommodating two- 
dimensional information. Considering the transmission of 
sound for a moment, no difficulty arises, as sound is limited 
to two dimensions — time and amplitude — and consequent- 
ly can easily be conveyed through two-dimensional elec- 
trical circuits. 

In order to overcome the difficulty, the process of 
scanning is introduced into television, with the result that 
the three dimensions are reduced to two, relative to 
time, and consequently the necessary intelligence may be 




[By courte 
Henry Ilall at Alexandra Palace. 



;y of Hi,- B.B.C, 



conveyed through electrical circuits in spite of their 
limitations. 

There is, of course, no limit to the forms of scanning 
which might be employed, but it is usual nowadays to 
divide the picture to be transmitted into a series of con- 
tiguous horizontal lines, starting at the top right-hand 
corner and finishing at the bottom left. Each line is tra- 
versed at a steady speed by the scanning apparatus, and 
at the conclusion of each line the scanning aperture returns 
with great rapidity to the start of the next line. 

During the forward traversal of each line, the light 
reflected from each elemental area of the subject being 
scanned is caused to fall upon a photo-electric device, 
thereby setting up a current of electricity proportional to 
the brightness of the area in question. 

At the end of each line traversal a "synchronising 
signal" is introduced into the train of electrical impulses, 
the function ol which is to assist the receiver in the process 
of reconstituting the image by keeping it rigidly in step 
with the transmitter. 

When the whole series of lines composing a complete 
frame has been scanned, by means of the steady down- 
ward movement of the frame traversal operating at right 
angles to the line traversals, a frame return stroke occurs, 
and the process is repeated once more from the beginning. 
At the same time a further synchronising signal is intro- 
duced to hold the receiver in step with the transmitter 
in the reproduction of successive frames. 



70 



THE CINE - TECHNIC] A N 



Bept.-October, 1938 



The electrical impulses emanating from the photo- 
electric device punctuated periodically by the synchronis- 
ing impulses, are suitably amplified and transmitted by 
radio in the form of amplitude modulation of an ultra 
short wave transmitter. 

To reconstitute the picture at the receiver it is neces- 
sary to cause a spot of light to traverse a screen in the form 
of a scan in exact synchronism with the process of scan- 
ning at the transmitter, and at the same time to vary its 
intensity in exact accordance with the picture signals from 
the transmitter. 

The choice of standards of definition is a matter of 
compromise, as clearly the desire to improve the quality 
of reproduction must be tempered with the realisation of 
the technical difficulties which any increase in the stan- 
dard must inevitably bring in its train. 

One of the most important considerations is to reduce 
rlickcr in the reproduced image. Here the experience in 
motion pictures may be taken into account, as a similar 
problem exists in this sphere. It is well known that a 
frame repetition speed of 24 per second is sufficient to 
give a good impression of continuity of motion, but is 
insufficient to give freedom from dicker. 

Jn consequence, an artificial increase in dicker fre- 
quency is achieved by the use of a multi-blade shutter 
which has the effect of increasing the flicker frequency 
to perhaps 72 per second, at which value it is entirety 
invisible to the eye. It would of course, be possible to 
run the film at 72 frames per second, but this would 
result in a trebling of costs, and a quite unjustifiable waste 
of film. 

A similar expedient is adopted in television, and takes 
the form of interlaced scanning. The actual frame repeti- 
tion frequency chosen for the London station is 25 per 
second, but as a result of the use of interlaced scanning 
the effective flicker frequency is increased to 50 per second 
at which it becomes imperceptible to the eye. 

In the process of interlacing, each picture frame is 
scanned twice, omitting every other line during the first 
scan, and returning to fill up the gaps between lines in 
the course of the second scan. From the eye's point of 
view, this process renders the flicker in the reproduced 
picture negligible, but it achieves this desirable effect 
without increasing the total number of lines scanned per 
second, i.e. the frequency band generated by scanning is 
not increased. 

The choice of the number of lines of which each frame 
is composed is also a matter of compromise, for while it 
is quite clear that the greater the number of lines used, 
the better the detail of the reproduced picture, but the 
greater will be the band of frequencies generated, with 
a corresponding increase of the problems of transmission. 

In the case of the London Station, it was decided 
that each picture frame should contain 405 lines, and 
that there should be 25 picture frames per second, inter- 
laced, to give an effective flicker frequency of 50 per 
second. Scanning in this manner generates a band of 
frequencies extending to about three million cycles per 
second, and elaborate precautions must be taken to en- 
sure that the amplifying and transmitting circuits are 
provided with a sufficiently wide frequency response to 
pass the signals without appreciable attenuation. 

A further consequence of the very wide band of fre- 
quencies that must be transmitted is that the use of an 
ultra short radio transmitting wavelength is essential, as 
ii its not possible at present to superimpose signals of the 
order 2£ to 3 million cycles per second on a carrier wave 



which has a frequency of less than about 40 million per 
second. This, of course, implies a wavelength of about 
metres, and the enforced use of such a short wavelength 
limits the range of the station to a radius of about 35 
miles. 

The scanning and picture dissection at Alexandra 
Palace is carried out by means of the Kmitron camera, 
a remarkable electronic device developed by the Marconi- 
E.M.I. Television Co. Ltd. The Kmitron consists of an 
evacuated tube containing what is known as a "mosaic" 
plafe, which possesses unique photo-electric properties. 
The plate is composed ol insulating material coated at 
the back with a continuous metallic film, and at the front 
with a great number of photo-electric nodules, each in- 
sulated from its neighbour. The tube is also fitted with 
an electron gun. whose function is to provide a finely 
iocussed beam of electrons, which is caused to scan the 
mosaic in the proper order by means of suitable deflect- 
ing coils located round the neck of the tube. The camera 
is also fitted with an optical system which forms an 
image of the scene to be transmitted on the mosaic screen. 
Coupled to the main lens is a similar lens for the view- 
finder which forms a duplicate image on a ground glass 
screen having the same- dimensions as the mosaic, and 
which is observed by the camera operator. For general 
purposes two 0.5" F 3 lenses are used. 

When an image is focussed on the mosaic, photo- 
electric emission occurs, and those nodules situated in 
the bright parts of the image emit a proportionally greater 
photo-electric current than those in the darker parts. This 
infers that the mosaic elements become positively charged, 
the amount of charge being dependent upon the amount 
of light falling upon them; thus, as the electron beam 
is caused to scan the mosaic, it restores each element to 
its original potential by supplying it with electrons to 
make good the deficiency due to emission. In other words, 
the positive charge of each little nodule is annulled, and 
the capacity current resultant from so doing flows in a 
circuit associated with a continuous metallic deposit on 
the back of the mosaic plate. A voltage is thus 
produced in the output circuit of the Emitron, 
which at any time represents the brightness of 
that part of the mosaic then being scanned. The 
output from the Emitron is called the picture signal, and 
is initially amplified by means of the head amplifier sit- 
uated inside the camera cover. The camera is connected 
to the control room equipment by means of a flexible cable 
which has an over all diameter of approximately 1^ ins., 
and contains 27 separate conductors in all. Two of these 
conductors are of the co-axial type, one of which conveys. 
the picture signals from the camera to the control room, 
and the other the high frequency pulses associated with 
the scanning circuits. The cable also carries a telephone 
circuit which enables the producer in the control room 
to give instructions to the camera operator. 

The Alexandra Palace equipment is capable of con- 
trolling six such cameras, two of which are permanently 
connected with the apparatus for transmitting film. The 
control room equipment enables the picture being viewed 
by any camera to be pre-viewed before being used on 
transmission. Furthermore, the pictures produced by each 
camera may be super-imposed or faded over from one to- 
the other at will. 

The studios at Alexandra Palace are generally similar 
to the average film studio in respect to the lighting tech- 
nique employed, and incorporate sound pick-up equipment 



Sept-October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICI A N 



71 



similar to that used in ordinary broadcasting. Two 
separate transmitters are installed at Alexandra Palace, 
one for radiating the vision signals together with the 
synchronising impulses, and the other for radiating the 
sound accompanying the studio scene. These transmitters 
operate on a frequency of 45 Mc/s. and 41.5 Mc/s., corres- 
ponding to a wavelength of 7.24 metres and 6.67 metres 
respective! y. and can be picked up on one and the same 
aerial at the receiver, where the vision and sound signals 
are separated and after amplification caused to control 
the receiving cathode ray tube and loud speaker 
respectively. 

In addition to the transmission of studio programmes, 
the London Television service also includes a complete 
mobile television fleet for the transmission of events ex- 
ternal to the studios; such events include the Coronation, 
Wimbledon, the Cup Final, the Armistice ceremony, and 
other national and sporting events. The Mobile Television 
fleet provides the same facilities for vision and sound as 
are available at Alexandra Palace, although of necessity 
somewhat limited in scope. The unit consists of four 
vehicles, into which are built: — 

(a) A vision and sound control room capable of 
operating three emitron cameras and 6 microphones. 

(b) A lower power ultra-short-wave transmitter 
for conveying the picture signals by radio to Alex- 
andra Palace, where they are received on a special 
receiver and then re-broadcast from the main vision 
transmitter. 

(c) A portable aerial and mast, designed on similar 
lines to a fire escape vehicle. 

(d) A petrol engine generator plant for supplying 
power for operating the control room and transmitter. 
In some areas it is possible to convey an outside 



broadcast event back to Alexandra Palace without the use 
of the ultra-short-wave link transmitter and its associated 
aerial unit, since a special television cable network has 
been installed round the centre of London embracing 
numerous points of interest and sites of national 
functions. 

When an outside broadcast it attempted from a point 
on the cable route, the control room van can be plugged 
direct into the television cable and the vision signals con- 
veyed to Alexandra Palace via the repeater station at 
Broadcasting House. The sound accompanying the out- 
side broadcast event is picked up by the microphone 
associated with the mobile control room, amplified there 
and then conveyed to Alexandra Palace by Post Office 
line. It is further amplified and then re-broadcast on the 
main sound transmitter at Alexandra Palace. 

The present type of home television receiver provides 
a picture approximately 10 ins. x 8 ins., while certain 
table models are available which give a picture somewhat 
smaller in size. .Modern cathode ray tubes give pictures 
having a relatively high order of brightness, so that it is 
not necessary for them to be viewed in a completely 
darkened room. It is generally considered that the present 
order of pic ture definition, viz., 405 lines, 25 frames inter- 
laced, provides a very satisfactory picture quality. 

All types of receivers are provided with adjustments 
for brightness and contrast, so that the viewer may derive 
the most suitable tonal gradation. In the first instance 
the question of the most suitable colour for the fluorescent 
screen lor receivers was somewhat indeterminate, and a 
number of shades such as green, blue, and sepia made 
their appearance. The general taste, however, has now- 
centred on a screen which gives a good black and white 
■picture, such as is usual with the cinema screen. 

1 " ' 



. . . that exceptionally 
intelligent magazine ..." 

James Agate 



• WORLD FILM NEWS • 

Monthly, one shilling 

Published at 34 Soho Square, W.I. 



" . . . always graphic 
and entertaining ..." 

The Criterion 



72 



t ii K 



GINK-TECHNICIAN 



Bept.~6ctober. 1938 



SHOT AT DAWN 



A Few Suggestions for your first Lighting Job 

by 



T 



HIS article is going to be a very homely affair, and 
will have no technical pretensions at all, so first 
cameramen and lighting experts should take warn- 
ing and read no further, unless it might be with an 
indulgent smile. 

'I his is an essay on that moment of aw ful loneliness, 
when alter years of earnest study of the work of the 
cameramen you have operated for, sou suddenly find 
yourself in the middle of the floor, with a charge-hand at 
your elbow, and two dozen people waiting for you to say 
something. Your moment has come at last, you haven't 
an idea in your head. 

And ipiite naturally so, lor you are on unfamiliar 
ground, and have not yet had the chance to evolve a 
routine of working. So what J am going to try to do is 
to suggest the order in which you might tackle your prob- 
lems, and indicate what might be your main consideration 
in each phase of lighting your first set-up. Of course, 
there are no hard and fast rules, you will soon hit upon 
a style and method of working of your own. so that the 
following plan is not intended to do anything more than 
to clarify your ideas about a moment when a clear head 
is all-important. 

If your hist feeling is one of frozen panic, and if all 
the observations and the mental note you have taken seem 
to have deserted you, stimulate the brain by getting back 
on to familiar ground. In short, start as usual to line up 
your shot. In any case it is a golden rule to light by 
looking through the camera, for this is the only way to 
work on the exact angle you are going to shoot. It is 
surprisingly easy to spend time on lighting something 
which isn't in the picture at all, and furthermore, if you 
are going to create a picture, you must work to your 
canvas 

The next thing to do before you worry about the 
action of the scene is to light your set, and here the source 
of light is the most important factor; for in nine cases 
out of ten a set will "light itself" by building up from 
the source. In the case of a clay sequence, then, the 
windows will be your first consideration, if there are any ; 
if not, you will want to decide whether to use a window 
effect from an imaginary source outside the set. Nearly 
always a definite direction or source of light is a great 
help, since throughout the work on the set it provides 
a basic lighting idea which will help to keep your work 
clear and simple. If you are going to play for an effect 
I torn one of the windows striking the wall, it will show 
to best advantage on a plain surface. 

So having placed your arc, you can go ahead and 
build up on it. This merely means that you are going 
to make the set look as if it was lit from the window, 
with two big reservations. The first is to maintain a 
sufficient photographic illumination all over, and the 
second is to give every shape in the set the treatment 
which is most effective to it. This last consideration begs 
the whole question of conscience in lighting, which every- 




i 



[LciHire 



FRANCIS CARVER 



one will solve according to his own style, but I would 
suggest as a basis to work from that outstanding features 
near the source should be lit from that side ; but that if 
a piece of furniture, moulding or other feature further 
away from the source seems to demand lighting from the 
opposite side, that it can be legitimately treated in this 
way. After all. the first job of lighting is to give every 
shape in the picture its fullest value. The great thing 
is to avoid confusion or multiplicity of shadows. One 
clear shadow from each object will always give you the 
boldest, most natural effect ; so when you set a lamp, 
be careful to see that it only does what you want it to, 
without spilling into and confusing other areas of light. 
As for balance of illumination, make sure that your 
window remains the brightest part of the set, and do not 
forget some gentle reverse lighting on the window wall. 

If you find you have a night sequence to deal with, 
ask the charge-hand electrician to make the practicals 
alive and build up from them. How much of the set 
you illuminate, how big, as it were, your pools of light 
are, depends of course on the character of the set and 
sequence. You have the whole gamut from the mysterious, 
through the cosy, to the brilliant general illumination to 
play upon. But in any case that portion of the set which 
is brightly let must be well up to the standard of illu- 
mination. 

Now you are ready for your actors, and don't forget 
that the audience have paid to see them. It is tremen- 
dously helpful if you can <jet the director to rehearse 



Sept.-October, 1938 



THE GIN E-T £ G H M I G 1 A N 



78 



the action of the scene right through before you start 
to light it, for it is only by familiarity with the action 
that you can judge the importance of the scene, and 
decide how much time you can afford to spend on it. 

If the director is working in long shot, you will be 
lighting figures moving probably through broad areas, and 
they can pass through your set lights without ill effect. 
If, "however, you should be starting in mid-shot or close- 
up, it is as well to see that none of the set-lights are 
hitting awkwardly on to the actors before you start to 
light them, since it is sometimes difficult to trace the 
source of an unwanted lamp when you have a full lighting 
on. Also, remember that in a close-shot you will be light- 
ing faces, and for this it is essential to know which way 
people are going to look. 

There are really only three sorts of artistic lights ; 
to whit, source light, softening light, and backlight. 
Don't overdo the backlight ; except in special circum- 
stances a brilliant halo looks old-fashioned and unnatural. 
The softening light should be low enough to avoid a double 
chin shadow. Remember that the higher your source- 
light is. the more mike-shadow problems you are likely 
to be involved in, so that it is as well to front light your 
artistes from the floor with a Lamp which will go reason- 
ably high, rather than from the rail. 

In most cases the smoothest lighting is that which 
falls from the side of camera tow aids which the artiste 
is looking, since this gives a soft modelling shadow to the 
nose and cheek, and will allow you to lose or accentuate 
the jaw line as seems suitable. Sometimes it is possible 
to give two or more artistes an individual lighting in which 
each plays in his or her own separate lamp ; but more 
often this proves too < lunisv to be practicable, especially 




[Illustrations on this page by courtesy of Mole-Richardson 




if actors are close together, or if there is much move- 
ment. So your first decision will usually be as to who is 
going to "get the break" with the source light, in short, 
from which side of the camera you are going to play it. 

In these days of mechanical development, when con- 
sistency is all-important, it is advisable to stick to one 
each of the various types of lamp which you decide to 
use for source lighting in close work. If the charge-hand 
puts a new globe in each, you will have a useful constant 
to work to. 

Having lit your set and your artistes, you will want 
to see a hand-test as soon as possible after shooting the 
S( nit'. Shoot plenty of tests at first, and study them 
carefully for consistency, and to strike your balance 
between faces and background. Don't forget that if your 
faces are overlit. the laboratory will have to print the 
whole picture down for them, and your background will 
become choked and gloomy. 

Ironically these first efforts at lighting are usually 
;n a production where speed is essential. This is dis- 
turbing, though in point of fact it is not quite such a 
sung as might at first appear. For one thing, the sets 
on such a picture are usually modest, and the time taken 
to light a set does depend partly on its size and the mere 
number ol lamps involved. Furthermore, if you make up 
your mind to aim at simplicity, you should be able to 
achieve reasonable quality in reasonable time, and sim- 
plicity is a virtue to which you will find yourself returning 
as a result of wide experience. So for more reasons than 
one it is best not to embark on too elaborate effects, 
either in set or artiste lighting. A clear, lucid style, 
wherein the artistes' faces are simply but boldly 
illuminated, will leave you more time to polish and per- 
fect your balance. 

In the scale of economy, time is the biggest factor; 
but in many small ways you can consider the firm's 
pocket, especially if you work in full co-operation with 
your charge-hand, who is a powerful ally in this as in 
all other matters. Questions of lamp-line, and of rigging 
sets in advance can involve a big waste of time and 
money if they are not given forethought. And incident- 
ally, when you have finished lighting a set-up, save your 
lamps; it is economical, proves to everyone that the unit 
is not waiting for you, and will gain you a reputation for 
decision. 

A light-change during a scene will involve your 
electricians in a complicated re-plugging job which can 
run away with a lot of time, and there is nothing more 

(Continued on page 75) 



71 



T li li C I N K-TECHNICI A N 



Sept. -October, v.mn 




IBy courtesy of Unity Theatre 

A scene from "I'lani in the Sun," with Paul Robeson. 



At the Unity Theatre, a small home-made theatre 
near Mornington Crescent run by enthusiastic Left-wing 
amateurs, international star Paul Robeson has just 
finished playing in an American play called "Plant in the 
Sun." The play made a strong dramatic appeal for trade 
unionism. Its moral is simple- Stick together or the 
man at the top will beat you in the economic bargain. 
The live main characters are workers in a packing shop 
of a big factory who decide to stage a sit-down strike 
because one of their number has been victimised for talk- 
ing unionism. One of these characters was played by 
Kobeson. But it was not a star part. 

All this is surprising enough, but when we learn that 
Kobeson has shaken the dust of professional stage and 
studio from his feet, and announced that he will confine 
himself to his concerts, except if and when he has such 
stories as "Plant in the Sun," surpise becomes vocal. 

"It's a long story," Robeson said. "I've always 
held strong opinions about society, but I have never 
related these opinions to my job. I was just another actor. 
I didn't see why people should worry themselves about 
my outlook on other matters. At the same time I grew 
more and more dissatisfied with the stories I played in. 
Certain elements in a story would attract me and I would 
agree to play in it. But by the time producers and dis- 
tributors had got through with it, the story was usually 
very different, and so were my feelings about it. "Sanders 
of the River," for example, attracted me because the 
material that London Films brought back from Africa 
scmed to me good honest pictures of African folk ways. 
The Him has been criticised on the grounds that dressing 
up in a leopard skin I was letting down something or 
other. I looked at it from a different angle. Robeson 
dressed in a leopard skin along with half a dozen other 
guvs from Africa, all looking more or less the same, 
seemed to me to prove something about my race that I 
thought worth proving. But in the completed version, 



PAUL 
ROBESON 

TELLS 
US WHY 

when interviewed by SIDNEY COLE 



"Sanders of the River" resolved itself into a piece of 
flag-waving, in which I wasn't interested. As far as I 
was concerned it was a total loss. 

"But I didn't realise how seriously people might take 
the film until 1 went back to New York. There I was met 
by a deputation who wanted to know how the hell I had 
come to play in a film which stood for everything they 
rightly thought I opposed. That deputation began to 
make me see things more clearly. I hadn't seen the film, 
I was that interested. After talking to them I did go 
and see it, and I began to realise what thev'd been getting 
at, 

"The films I've made since then? The same story. 
An idea that attracted me, a result in which I wasn't 
interested. 

"Why was the film version of "Emperor Jones" a 
failure? Partly because scenes in it were changed 
around from the proper psychological order of the play, 
and partly because the big episode, the long monologue 
in the forest, which had been built up in the theatre by 
the use of drums, was not played in the same way in 
the film. On the stage a drum became an actual character 
in the scene. The lines I spoke were dialogue addressed 
to the drum and answered by it. Only in that way could 
I get the necessary feeling to play the scene as O'Neill's 
writing of it deserved. We engaged an expert drummer 
for the part. But in the film, which I started with 
enthusiasm, I was told that of course we couldn't play 
the scene that way. We couldn't use the drum in the 
dramatic emotional way that was essential for me. Also 
the director had some fool notion that negroes had moods 
and could only play when they were in the proper mood. 
Consequently we played the whole sequence right through 
at once, which certainly didn't give me the right 'mood'." 

"Meanwhile I was beginning to connect things up. 
My feelings about films in general and what I did in my 
job — this was a long process, mind — I was beginning to 



Sept.-October, 1938 



T H E 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



75 



ieel couldn't be separated. At my concerts years 
back I bad noticed tbe most genuine and entbusiastic 
applause always came from tbe gallery. Tbe stiff sbirts 
in tbe stalls liked to bear me sing, sure, but tbose guys 
in the gallery I began more and more to feel as my people. 
Those were the people I wanted to sing to and play to. 
And to play to them in stories that had some bearing on 
the problems they had to face in their daily lives. I was 
interested in those problems outside of my job. In 
future 1 wanted to concern myself with them inside of 
my job. That's why I decided to take no more offers until 
I could find that sort of story. 

"Similarly, all my concerts in future will have a 
five-shilling top. At that price I figure more of the people 
I want to sing to will be able to hear me. My agent 
was a bit worried about my political appearances, but 
the fact is that they haven't hurt tbe box office." 

Kobeson wants to get back into films. He feels that 
the film is his medium. This may seem surprising to 
those who have heard him fill the vastness of the Albert 
Hall with a cheering audience. But be feels that in the 
intimacy of working close to the camera he can put over 
his personality more sympathetically and with less strain. 
But if and when be docs make films they've got to be 
about the sort of subjects he wants, and no distorting of 
the original intention behind them. That involves, I 
suggested, a degree of control over the production personel 
that so far only the supreme Hollywood stars have 
managed to achieve. But Robeson is willing to stay out- 
side until he can get it. 

He has some good stories about the studios. 
"In one film I played in which also had plenty of 
flag-waving in it. a very well-known actor who didn't see 
eye-to-eye witb me on social problems, turned out to be 
very race-conscious. He was much shorter than me and 
consequently always contrived when be was playing a 
scene witb me to stand on a rock or something in order 
to bring himself up to my level." 

Robeson has interesting advice to play rights. "White 
dramatists usually go wrong when they try to write a part 
for a negro character. Not unnaturally they tend to see 
him as a specialised person. This distorts tbe importance 
given to the character and makes him unrepresentative. 
Consequently my advice to dramatists who want to write 



N.A.T.K.E PROGRESS 

We have received the 40th Report of the National 
Association of Theatrical and Kine Employees. This 
Union started as an organisation of theatrical employees 
and upon the growth of the film business extended its 
activities to that industry. 

Their Report shows a record year, w ith a 1938 mem- 
bership of 16.000 as compared with 10.352 a year ago. It 
shows the very valuable work which this Union has done 
on behalf of its members, including a national agreement 
with the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association for the 
first time. 

Reference is made to the Film Producei's' Federation 
and it is stated that there is no fundamental objection 
to a collective agreement for all studios with that body 
provided tbe conditions will not be less favourable than 
at present ami the interests of members not adversely 
affected. Any attempt to take away established con- 
ditions or worsen them in any way will be met with the 
strongest opposition. 



plays for Unity, for example, is to write about a character 
they know in their own experience, an Irishman or a 
Welshman or a Cockney, then let me play the part and 
give it its special but not unrepresentative negro flavour. 
The part, for example, that 1 played in "Plant in the 
Sun" was written by the author as an Irishman. 

And now Robeson feels that he's integrated his job 
and his feelings about society. Part of his feelings about 
films are due to this integration of outlook. To him he 
says, the film industry is the clearest example of the 
workings of capitalism — slumps, booms, speculation, 
over-production, and so on. It's all there. "You've only 
got to ask w ho controls United States Steel, who controls 
the Chase National Bank. And then you find the same 
guys control the film industry. And it's the same here 
in England." 

"The workers in tbe studios have the power and they 
ought to realise it. During one of my films I was struck 
by this very forcibly. There was everybody on the set, 
lights burning, director waiting, head of the company bad 
just come on to the set witb some big financial backer to 
see how things were getting along — and what happened? 
Everything stopped. Why? Because the electricians 
had decided it was time to go and eat so they just put 
out the lights and went off and ate. That's my moral 
for your readers." 



SHOT AT DAWN 

(Continued from page 73) 

irritating than to arrange a complicated change-over in 
long-shot, only to find that in cutting the switch happens 
in close-up. So that it is worth checking up on this point 
with the director; you may be able to save him a lot 
of time b\ covering the change in a close shot. 

After a scene has been shot, it is important if you are 
limited foi time to get started on your next set-up without 
delay. Hut if the director is consulting bis script, you 
can usefully employ the time in saving locally the lamps 
which have been burning as artiste lights, and in check- 
ing any set lights which you have had to move, so that 
you will be quite ready to make a fresh start. A unit 
is inclined to take its tempo from the cameraman, so that 
it you waver, or change your mind unduly, your indecision 
will be reflected in the speed at which your supporters 
move. On tbe other hand, if you find that your lighting 
scheme is leading you into unforeseen complications, do 
not hesitate to abandon it at the earliest possible moment, 
for there is nothing more discouraging than to be anchored 
to a lighting which you know is all wrong. And finally, 
the most difficult way to remove a mike-shadow is to light 
it out. It will obstinately defy this treatment and upset 
the balance of your set lighting. 

All rules are made to be broken, and there is not one 
axiom 1 have mentioned which you will not reverse a 
dozen times a day, with good reason. The cameraman 
you are working with now is solving these problems all 
the time, but the better and more experienced he is, the 
harder it is to realise that the problems are there, since 
he takes them so easily in his stride. All I have hoped 
to do here is to outline the sort of things you will want 
to know w hen your break comes along, so that you may 
study his work with a seeing eye and learn the answers 
from him. Put yourself in his shoes, try and think out 
the problem a few seconds ahead of him, and then see 
how his solution agrees with yours. 



7G T H E C J. N E -TECH 

PEEPSHOW 



by- 




PE/EP1KG into the past of over 40 years ago, J, 
recalled my first job in animated photography. A 
job I obtained from an advertisement in a London 
daily newspaper — "Youth wanted, with knowledge of 
photography, to operate automatic machine in dark room." 
Having a knowledge of photography from my previous 
situation with a large London firm of photographic 
printers, I applied and was successful, and started print- 
ing photographic records of current events, etc., for the 
"Alutoscope," a (reel) "Peep Show." 

Chambers' definition of a peep show is "A small 
show viewed through a small hole, usually fitted with a 
magnifying glass." Well! That was the "Mutoscope," 
invented by Hermon Caster. The photographs were taken 
on an electrically driven camera called the "Mutograph," 
also by Hermon Caster. 

These pictures were printed on one strip of bromide 
paper i n in i 210ft. to 250ft. in length, 70 mm. wide. The 
machine used for printing these pictures was almost 
human — when anything went wrong with the negative the 
machine would stop automatically until the experienced 
operator put the trouble right. No ripping up of negatives 
or doing damage of any kind. The movement of the 
machine was intermittent and during the period of ex- 
posure punched a hole top and bottom of the picture for 
registration in cutting and mounting and to ensure steadi- 
ness. 

These strips of printed bromide paper were developed 
on iron drums 6ft. long and 4ft. in diameter which were 
lowered into a shallow tank and the process continued till 



N I C I A N Sept. -October, l^H 




Reading from top to bottom: King Edward VII; Point-to- Point ; Dan Leno and Herbert Chapman; Wicked Willie 

Why Marie Blew Out the Light. 



Sept.-October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



complete. Then transferred to a wooden frame Gft. high 
and placed in the drying room with continual changing of 
hot air by means of fans. 

When dry the strips were wound in a roll and con- 
secutively numbered on the back of each print. A foot 
press was used for cutting the strip into separate pictures, 
each with a notch on either side. They were then ready 
tor mounting. The apparatus used for this purpose was 
two steel flanges, mounted on a wooden stand. The 
pictures were placed singly in the "Rig" with a plain 
card between each picture. These interposing cards were 
used for giving a spring to the picture when passing the 
"Tripper," a small gadget similar to the human thumb. 
Each reel was mounted in two sections and while still 
in the "Big" was glued on the inside with a special white 
glue and strengthened with a piece of fabric known as 
""JLeno." \\ lien dry the two halves were placed between 
metal flanges and screwed together, forming a complete 
reel. They were then "steamed" by a special machine 
and forced into a metal band of slightly smaller diameter. 
This gave the pictures the curve which made them flat 
when passing the "Tripper." 

The reel is now ready for placing in the machine for 
exhibition. You screw the machines all in a row — you 
choose your subject — you put a penny in the slot and 
turn the handle. No regulation speed. Turn as you like. 
Linger or stop until the reel is finished. 

If you were patronising these machines about 40 
years ago most likely you would be looking at "Queen 
Victoria's Diamond Jubilee" or "The Return of Sir Her- 
bert Kitchener from the Sudan." Other historic pictures 
seen on the Mutoscope were Pope Leo XIII giving his 
Blessing; the Great Volunteer Review on the Horse 
Guards Parade by King Edward VII, then Prince of 
Wales; the South African War. showing the departure of 
General Sir Redvers Buller on s.s. Dunnottar Castle; the 
departure of troops and the C.I.V.s; the German Battle- 
ship "Odin" with all »inis in action; Joe Chamberlain 
and A. J. Balfour speaking at Blenheim Palace; Queen 
Victoria's Funeral, showing scenes at Portsmouth, Lon- 
don and Windsor; annual events such as the Derby and 
Grand National, etc. ; the Spanish Royal Wedding, taken 
a few minutes alter the bomb incident ; a Spanish Bull 
Fight. There were subjects of a lighter type such as 
Dan Leno and Herbert Campbell playing cricket, and the 
two comedians editing the '"Sun" Newspaper. Also 
"Wicked Willie." "Why Marie Blew Out the Light," 
etc. 

There were Mutoscopes for the home as well . . . 
the "Parlour" and "Ophir." The latter was the kind 
taken by the late King George V. then Duke of York, 
on his tour on the s.s. Ophir. 

The "Biogen" v as the advertising Mutoscope — a 
much larger machine with an oval front fitted with four 
or five letises. The mechanism was the same as in the 
hand model, hut driven by motor. The "Biogen" was 



used for shop windows and exhibitions showing the adver- 
tiser's particular goods For instance "The Spirit of iiis 
Foreiathers," where the paintings on the wall came to 
life to share the whisky, and "You Dirty Boy." The 
"Biogen" was a valuable advertising medium. 

Lumiere's "Kinora" was very similar in principle to 
the Mutoscope, but varied a little in detail. The picture 
was made from a standard 35mm. neg.. just halt as wide 
as the Mutoscope picture, but was printed on a special 
rotary machine on a much wider and thinner strip of 
bromide. The w hole width of paper was exposed, giving 
a wide black margin on one side of the picture and a 
narrow margin on the "Tripper" side. The processing was 
the same as the Mutoscope, with the exception that 
when going on the iron drum it had a celluloid foundation 
to prevent the thin paper from breaking when wet. After 
drying, the strip was blacked on the back to prevent 
backward reflection when being viewed, then cut and 
notched and mounted on brass flanges. The reel was 
viewed horizontally, whereas the Mutoscope was viewed 
vertically. The "Kinora" was operated by hand or clock- 
work. 

This small machine was used for advertising also, 
and was ideal for the shop counter. Family groups Were 
a great success, though lather expensive. 

The "Peep Show" survives to-day and can he seen 
at the fun fairs and piers all round the coast. 



Real Co-operation at Pinewood 

The value of the closest studio collaboration between 
the members of A.C.T., E.T.U. and the N.A.T.K.E. was 
strikingly demonstrated at Pinewood recently. Owing to 
curtailment of the bus service between Uxbridge and the 
Studio, many employees, through no fault of their own. 
were arriving 81 1 and 45 minutes late, and, accordingly, 
losing time. 

The shop stewards of the three Unions called a mass 
meeting in the canteen one lunch time, which was 
attended by some 200 employees and the organisers of 
the Unions. The meeting unanimously demanded that 
extra buses he put on and that the Company reimburse all 
employees who had lost time. A deputation of the Union 
organisers and the shop stewards interviewed the manage- 
ment and alter an amicable and friendly discussion the 
demands were agreed to. 

The feeling in the Studio is that this excellent result 
was only made possible by the unity of the members of 
the three Unions 1 and that similar co-operation in the 
future is indispensable. 

We hope all other Studios will lose no time in setting 
up these joint Studio Committees of A.C.T., E.T.U. and 
N.A.T.K.E. representa ti ves . 



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T J I E 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept-October. 1983 



A RAY OF HOPE 



According to a "Times" correspondent in New York, 
u July 20th : 

"The Department of Justice brought an action to-day 
in the Federal District Court here under the Sherman Anti- 
Trust Law against eight of the best-known film companies, 
25 of their subsidiary or affiliated companies, and 132 indi- 
viduals who are charged with controlling "from the selec- 
tion of the story to the final showing in the theatre" 65 
per cent, of the nation's film industry. 

The Department is seeking to compel the defendants 
to divest themselves either of their ownership of theatres, 
or of their ownership of production and distribution facili- 
ties. It accuses them of dividing territory, pooling stars, 
exchanging directors, technicians and equipment, arrang- 
ing releases to favour theatres owned by affiliated 
companies and of forcing independent exhibitors to sign 
inflexible contracts involving block-bookings and un- 
favourable showing dates. 

The principal defendants are Paramount Pictures 
Incorporated , Loew's Incorporated , the Irving Trust Com- 
pany as trustees in bankruptcy for the Radio Keith 
Orpheum Corporations, Warner Brothers Incorporated, the 
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, and the United 
Artists Corporation. 

The Department of Justice considers this action to be 
so important that Mr. Thurman Arnold, the Assistant 
Attorney-General , who is head of its Anti-Trust Division, 
has conic here to take personal charge of it. According 
to a statement issued by the Attorney-General this action 
"may settle questions that are vital in the application of 



the cmtirtrust laws to other industries in which manu- 
facturers or producers, knit together through a common 
trade association , seek directly or indirectly to dominate 
and control markets." 

Nurtured as we are on American acknowledgment 
of graft and racketeering, one might well conclude that 
the above action is due to pressure from some of the other 
"best-known film companies" who control part of the 
remaining 3. r )% of the "nation's him industry." But let 
us be charitable and presume that it is a genuine attempt 
on the part of the Roosevelt administration to adjust 
the somewhat shaky condition of American industrial 
economics. Whichever way one looks at it, if the allega- 
tions are shown to be true, it proves that the "poor 
quality" charge, in itself largely due to propaganda, is 
not the only reason why British films have had difficulty 
in entering the American market. 

Should Mr. Thurman Arnold prove his case and the 
action be successful, we technicians can only pray that 
British him interests will be fully alive to, and make 
the fullest use of, any advantages that may be gained 
in the American market from the weakening of the 
"monopoly." It would be as well for A.C.T. to follow 
closely the nature of the evidence disclosed in the course 
of the trial, for there are not wanting signs that in Britain, 
too, the 83,1X16 tendencies towards concentration of an 
unhealthy share of power in the hands of one or two big 
syndicates, are growing. 

C.T. 



CRE AT FUTURE R>* THE CI NEMA 

Latest" plans are lb drop stars and concentrate 




[By cotirtcsy of Low and The Evening Standard 



Sept. -October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



79 



FOREIGN TECHNICIANS 

The following questions and answers were asked and 
given in the House of Commons on July 20th: 

Mr. Sorensen asked the Minister of Labour how many 
foreign cinema technicians are now working with permits 
in this country and the maximum and average length of 
time allowed by such permits ; and how many British 
cinema technicians are at present unemployed? 

Mr. E. Brown : "According to the records of my 
Department the number of foreign nationals under con- 
ditions as to their stay in the United Kingdom who have 
permission to be employed as technicians in film produc- 
tion is 24. This figure does not include producers, direc- 
tors, scenario writers and specialists in other than 
technical work, of whom there are 23 with permission 
to be employed at the present time. Permits for the 
employment of foreign nationals from abroad are granted 
for varying periods, in no case exceeding 12 months in 
the first instance, and are frequently limited to the 
duration of a particular production. With regard to the 
last part of the question, cinema technicians are not 
separately distinguished in the statistics of unemployment 
which are compiled by my Department." 

Mr. Sorensen : "In view of the fact that there is 
undoubtedly a large number of cinema technicians unem- 
ployed, would the right lion, gentleman assure the House 
that no permits will be issued for foreign technicians 
while we have technicians suitable for the jobs?" 

Mr. Brown : "Of course, that is my normal duty 
under the law. and it is carried out always in terms of 
each individual case." 



Mr. Sorensen: "Is it not a fact that there are com- 
plaints regarding the number of foreign technicians?" 

Mr. Broun : "There may be complaints, but com- 
plaints are not always well grounded, and those which 
receive most publicity are often the least well grounded." 

We would point out in the first place that apart from 
the 47 mentioned by .Mr. Brown, there are approximately 
another 30 who were previously granted permits by his. 
department and have since become resident aliens or 
naturalized British subjects. We welcome them as fellow 
subjects, but their number should be taken into account 
when considering admissions. 

Further, we differ with Air. Brown's contention that 
no permits are issued to foreign technicians while we have 
technicians suitable for the job. We also take exception 
to Mr. Brown's statement that complaints which receive 
most publicity are often the least well grounded. In view 
of the fact that it is A.CT. which lodges complaints as 
and when necessary, it must be pointed out that we are 
always very careful to be sure of our facts, and only to 
register complaints when we have very good grounds for 
doing so. 

The present position in the film industry is such that 
unless there is an improvement it will be extremely diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, for a large number of key British 
technicians to obtain employment again. In view of this 
serious position the Association asked Mr. Brown to re- 
ceive a deputation of unemployed senior British techni- 
cians. At the moment Mr. Brown has refused to receive 
a deputation, but A.CT. will continue to press strongly 
its point of view . 



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T H E CINE- T BCHNICIA N 



Sept.-October, 1938 




A FEATURE of the first Films Act was an Advisory 
Committee whose main function was to deal with 
quota defaults. All sections of the industry, and 
the Board of Trade, felt that a Committee with 
wider scope and powers could render much more useful 
service under the new Act. There was small support for 
the proposal (although it had considerable merit) of Mr. 
Tom Williams, M.P., that there should be a small com- 
mision of five members who should be independent and 
who would be paid for their services. The alternative of 
the President of the Board of Trade was eventually 
adopted with general approval. This provided for a Films 
Council of 21 persons composed of an independent Chair- 
man, ten independent members, and ten trade members, 
two of whom were to be representative of employees. 

The functions of the Council are : 

(a) To keep under review the progress of the British 
Film Industry, particularly film production, and 
to report thereon to the Board of Trade as 
thought fit ; 

(h) To advise the Board of Trade when approached 
to do so by that department ; 

(c) To present an Annual Report to the Board of 
Trade. 

In addition it should be noted that the powers given 
to the Board of Trade either to administer or to modify 
certain provisions of the Act can only be exercised after 
consultation with the Council. These include variation 



of quota rates; modification of the double and treble 
quota provisions; extension of cost and quality provisions 
(at present only applicable to long films) to shorts; grant- 
ing a quota certificates on the grounds of "Special enter- 
tainment value" to films costing less than the minimum . 
and quota defaults by renters and exhibitors. 

Furthermore, during the debates on the Act in Parlia- 
ment, an undertaking was given from the Government 
side that two specific matters — an apprenticeship scheme 
and co-operative booking (not to be confused with co- 
operative production) — would be referred to the Council 
for consideration. 

Experience alone will show exactly how wide are the 
powers of the Council. Personally, I feel that almost any 
matter in connection with the industry can be raised 
under clause (a) above. The Council should, therefore, 
provide an excellent forum for all matters affecting the 
industry, and on our side particularly (the technicians and 
workers engaged in it), which may arise from time td 
time. 

So far there have been five meeting of the Council. 
1 feel it is a pity that the press statements issued have 
been so meagre as it is to the general interest of the 
trade that they should be kept fully aware of the activities 
of the Council. Without giving any secrets away, I can 
say that we have during these five meetings viewed four 
films applying for renters' quota on the grounds of special 
entertainment value, although their cost was below the 
minimum statutory figure. We have reported to the 
Board of Trade on 19 Exhibitors' Quota Defaults and four 
Renters ' Defaults. I have submitted a memorandum to 
the Council outlining the desirability of an apprenticeship 
scheme for consideration by the Council in due course- 

We have received statistics as to films registered 
since the Act came into force. These cause me considerable 
alarm, and prove to the hilt the worst fears expressed by 
British producers and trade unions alike during our largely 
unsuccessful efforts to increase the quota rates. It will 
be remembered that 220 British long films were made last 
year. This year, if production continues at its present 
rate (and compliance with quota does not need increased 
production), less than 70 long films will be made for 
renters' quota. Additional films for exhibitors' quota only 
will total about 30, making an output of approximately 
not more than 100 long films in all. When one remembers 
that floor space in the British industry is equal to an 
annual output of 500 films, it needs no profound know- 
ledge of arithmetic to appreciate that for the majority of 
technicians casual labour is the outlook for the next few- 
years. Those that can will get out of the industry (and 
many have done so already) ; and those left behind will 
have one long struggle trying to make ends meet. Three 
or four months' work a year on the average (except for 
the lucky few) is the outlook. 

The curse of production is, as I anticipated, double 
and treble quota. Under these provisions the 17 films 
made for renters' quota during the first quarter of the 
year rank as 30 for quota purposes. The key jobs on the 
double and treble quota films have in the main been 
filled by foreign labour and one of the films (which 
received a British quota certificate) was actually exhibited 
with the I.A.T.S.E. stamp on the credit title. A British 
film shown as made under the jurisdiction of American 
labour ! 

There is one further matter which will be of interest 
to members. I have been exchanging correspondence 
recently with the Secretary to the Council on the question 



Sept .-October, 1938 



THE CINE- T E C H N I CIA N 



of labour costs as tbey affect "co-operative" productions. 
We were originally led to believe that all monies paid 
or payable to a technician could be returned as labour 
costs. That is, if a cameraman, for example, signed a 
contract to be paid £X in cash for his work on a picture 
and a further £Y as, if. and when further sums were 
received under a distribution agreement, then £X plus 
£Y could be returned as labour costs. It is obvious that 
such a course might lead to considerable abuse, and to 
heavy inflation of costs over and above the monies actually 
spent. The Board of Trade has now ruled that only 
money payable in any event (that is £X) is returnable for 
labour costs purposes. Money to be received out of cer- 
tain proceeds (that is £Y), which may be problematic, 
cannot count towards the minimum cost of a picture for 
quota purposes. Further, if the amount returned in 
respect of a particular person does not seem to the Board 
of Trade to be a bona-fide payment, then again the excess 
will be disallowed under Section 27 of the Cinematograph 
Films Act. The Board of Trade's ruling on co-operative 
production is a very important one and will prevent pos- 
sible abuses which otherwise would almost inevitably 
arise. 

Mr. Oliver Stanley, in welcoming members to the 
first Council meeting, made reference to the old Advisory 
Committee and used the phrase "Le Boi est mort ! Vive 
le Boi!" May we soon be able to say the same of film 
production. If so, I feel the Board of Trade, in consulta- 
tion with the Films Council, must use to the full all its 
powers to stimulate increased production. 



OUR PRESIDENT LEADS A.C.T. CREW IN 
ADDING PRESTIGE TO BRITISH FILMS 

The triumph of "Pygmalion," directed by Anthony 
Asquith and Leslie Howard, has heightened as never be- 
fore the prestige of British films and technicians. It is 
a pleasure to know that every member of the technical 
staff is a member of A.C.T. The crew were : — 

Directors: Anthony Asquith and Leslie Howard. 

Sets : Lawrence Irving. 

Ass't Art Director: John Bryan. 

Editor: David Lean. 

Photography : Harry Stradling. 

Cameras: Jack Hildyard. 

Ass't Director: Teddy Baird. 

Recording : Alex Fisher. 

And while we are talking about our triumph it is 
interesting to note that Paul Holt, Daily Express Film 
Critic, has discovered that British technical crews can do 
their stuff. He says many nice things about them in his 
recent review of the film "This Man is News." Thank 
you. Paul. We have said many Hard things to you while 
putting the case of the British technician. I am sure you 
are now convinced of their quality, And we look forward 
to your support which will help those of us w ho have yet 
to get their chance on major British films, 

BELFRAGE IN NOVEMBER 

In our next issue, we shall be publishing an authorita- 
tive article on Hollywood by Cedric Belfrage, the well- 
known him critic; whose recent novel on Hollywood, 
"Promised Land." has been so successful. 



Agreement With The Electrical 
Trades Union 

In pursuance of its policy of collaboration with the 
other Unions in the industry, as initiated with the A.C.T. 
— N.A.T.K.E. agreement, the Association of Cine- 
Technicians has now signed a similar agreement with the 
Electrical Trades Union. It comes into force imme- 
diately. The main clauses provide for mutual recognition 
of each other's problems, agree upon a demarcation line 
for the grades covered by each organisation, and set up 
machinery for co-operation on matters of common interest. 




/. Rowan, General Secretary K.T.V. 



Further, there is provision for the formation of a 
Joint Consultative Committee of the two Unions which 
will meet at regular intervals. Joint organisation will 
also be set up in the studios. 

We look forward to an era of close collaboration in 
the industry which, like the previous agreement with the 
N.A.T.K.E.. will be of benefit to both organisations. 

* * * 

FILM CONFERENCE AT LAMBETH PALACE 

On October 7th, the Cinema Christian Council are 
holding a conference on the entertainment film. They 
will discuss its influence on the child, the adolescent, and 
the adult. Among the speakers will be Miss C. A. Lejeune, 
Observer film critic, and the Hon. Eleanor Pluiner, a 
governor of the British Film Institute and a member of 
the Films Council. 



82 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept. -October, 1938 



DIRECTING IN 

DUFAYCOLOR 

by — 

GEORGE PEARSON 

WHEN sound came to the screen the zenith ot 
cinematic art form seemed to have been readied, 
and only internal improvement in technique and 
apparatus remained for the future. Colour as an essential 
factor did not appear to threaten seriously the sovereignty 
of the black and white film, lint patiently and persis- 
tently the colour experts have laboured, and during the 
last two years progress has been almost as startling as 
the previous advance in sound. 

Colour has arrived. I believe that within two more 
years the non-colour film will be as great a curiosity as 
the silent film is to-day. 

I was deeply impressed by the appeal of colour, and 
was extraordinarily fortunate in being given an oppor- 
tunity to make an experiment in the medium through 
the generous support of Mr. Philip Greatrix and Mr. B. 
Savage. It was decided to make some colour-musical- 
shorts in Dufaycolor. since Dufaycolor could be shot with 
an ordinary camera, rushes in colour could be seen the 
next day, and studio work appeared to need but Tittle 
alteration from ordinary black and white shooting. 

We entered into the experiment with a profound 
belief in the future of colour on the screen and a keen 
anxiety to know the pitfalls, discover the technique by 
actual practice, and gain most valuable experience at 
first hand. Fortunately Ernest Palmer was able to join 
us as camera expert, and to him we owe more than 
we can adequately express ; his experience, ingenuity and 
adaptability to new conditions, have carried us through 
many real difficulties. Major Klein of Dufaycolor has 
aided us throughout in every conceivable way through 
personal advice, and by placing at our disposal the ser- 
vice of his technical experts. Max Factor gave us every 
assistance in the difficult matter of make-up. We were 
fortunate also in the personal aid of Mr. Greatrix who has 
made colour a life study. 

Well, we have made the experiment. We have dis- 
covered more in the last two months about shooting in 
colour than we could have gathered by years of theorizing 
or book-learning. We have struck a score of snags, walked 
headlong into pitfalls, made many mistakes, but have 
emerged richer in knowledge, probably poorer in pocket, 
but definite converts to the colour film as the screen 
pictorial medium of the future, indeed of the very near 
future. 

The psychological effect on the unit of technical 
workers was remarkable. There seemed an amazing 
added enjoyment to the work ; the whole attitude of mind 
was changed, widened, and stimulated. We looked for 
colour harmonies added to composition and this widened 




the vision delightfully, producing a strangely provocative 
mental joy that 1 am unable to describe adequately. I 
can truly sa\ that after working in colour, the old mono- 
chrome work seems curiously dull. 

In this we owe much to the fact that Dufaycolor is 
remarkable in its fidelity to the tints and tones of nature; 
what we saw with the eyes we got, if we obeyed the rules. 
Exterior work taught us much through the valuable, 
though expensive, experience of making mistakes, but 
each error left us with one more bit of knowledge and 
a determination to avoid repetition of similar indiscretion. 

Studio work certainly gave us many headaches, all 
quite avoidable when you have appreciated the rules of 
the game. We found out lots of queer things about colour 
harmonies, types and volume of lights, make-up, changing 
angles, accidental colour reflections caught in movement, 
and wisdom in background colour selection. 

Editing was at first a bit of a nightmare, for in that 
we found our greatest snag, colour-cut matching. But 
that led to a fresh interest in many technical matters 
inherent in the scenario of the colour-film. Undoubtedly 
in the scenario lies the main secret, for when you have 
assimilated the rules, your scenario will legislate for 
avoidance of most of the mistakes I have hinted at in 
this brief general record. 

In the minds of all of us in this small unit there is 
one definite conviction. We are adherents to the colour- 
film. We believe that the conquest of the screen by 
colour is near at hand, and that in this conquest Dufay- 
color will play a vital part. Direction in colour has added 
new problems to the director, but it has given him the 
joy of a wider vision, has opened up a vista of infinite 
dramatic possibilities, has increased his opportunity for 
emotional appeal. The last barrier seems to have fallen 
with the advent of colour, and I look back with queer 
memories over a lifetime associated with the screen, from 
the days when we went out and shot from the cuff, 
through a static camera with a fixed two-inch lens, no 
close-ups, a hard soot and whitewash picture, to these 
happy days with a mobile camera, amazing lenses, the 
capture of sound even in a whisper, and now Dufaycolor. 
The inheritance of the cinema technician of the future 
is indeed a happy one. 



Sept.-October, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



83 



FOUR-WAY SYNCHRONISER 




FILMS & EQUIPMENTS Ltd. 

145 WARDOUR ST. LONDON, W.I. 



8 1 



T ] i E CI N E - T E C H N I C 1 A N 



Sept. -October, 1938 



Cinema Log 

by KENNETH GORDON 



Indian Film Industry on the Rocks 

The Indian film industry, which lias Rs. 150,000,000 
invested in it, and employs 35,000 workers, is about to 
collapse unless sound financial support is forthcoming. 

Two years ago there were over a hundred firms pro- 
ducing pictures in various parts of India, but to-day 
"Filmindia" declares only thirty companies are in regular 
production; seventy Indian production companies have 
closed down. Only five producers are free from financial 
embarrassments ; huge debts threaten to wipe out the rest. 
This year India will only produce sixty pictures, against 
three hundred produced in 1035; this is to supply nearly 
1,200 theatres. 

The distributors acted as financiers to the trade, 
and have been charging as much as 40 per cent for this 
accommodation, and Mr. Chimanlal Desai, vice-president 
of the Motion Picture Society of India, declares that in- 
flation of prices for cinema machinery, imported for 
the trade, have increased production costs. He states 
that prices charged are double the actual cost of landing 
the plant in India. 

Other interested parties say that only six pictures 
were successful, and that native productions varying in 
footage from 9,000 to 16,000 feet and one film even 
17,000 feet in length are boring and tax the nerves of 
native audiences. Audiences, they say, really demand a 
7,000 feet limit. 

Indian films, after twenty-five years struggling, have 
not been able to attract the type of money that finances 
other industries and thus break the yoke of distributor 
finance. Foreign competition, both American and Ger- 
man, in the renting and exhibition side, are claimed to 
be another responsible factor for the collapse. 

Native pictures are rented on 50/50 terms, and good 
Indian pictures can make money; Prabhat's have con- 
tinually made profits and have accumulated huge reserves. 
Quality and variety have been the keynote of this com- 
pany's pictures; other companies, although good at their 
work, have made but little progress owing to lack of 
money. Prabat's Indian picture "The Unexpected" was 
shown at the International Exhibition of Cinematographic 
Art 1938. 

The Motion Picture Society of India declares that 
the present trend of the Indian film industry should wake 
up the Indian Government, and it is time the Indian 
Industry was granted the immediate protection of a Quota 

Act. 

Great indignation is being expressed by Hindus at 
the paintings in the new American-owned Metro Cinema, 
Bombay. These represent incidents from the Ramayana, 
and are stated to give a "sexy" portrayal of Seeta, the 
ideal Hindu woman, adored and revered by two hundred 
million Hindus. The latest importations from Hollywood 
arc having a devastating effect on the Indian mind, and 
in a demand to tighten up the film censorship under the 
Hon. K. K. Munshi, several crimes committed in the 
United Provinces are blamed on American pictures 
whose sex implications are claimed to be a challenge to 
India's traditional ideas of sexual and social morality. 



British Government Propaganda Films 

With the continual insertion in British Newsreels of 
German, Italian, Japanese, Russian and Franco subsi- 
dised propaganda films and the success of U.S. Govern- 
ment documentaries, the Lritish Government, through 
the Select Committee on Estimates, recommends that 
Government Publicity films must not only communicate 
facts but obtain a reasonable standard of entertainment 
value and succeed in being placed upon the screens 
of a wide scale of national cinemas. 

The Committee points out that the Admiralty pro- 
vides facilities for a selected firm, which limits ex- 
penditure to the purchase of copies and projectors. 
The War Office contemplates employing selected 
firms to make films at public cost; the Post Office, which 
produces films with its own technicians, would undertake 
the production of some films for other departments. The 
National Fitness Council contemplates subsidising non- 
theatrical film showings of existing films, and the Ministry 
of Labour puts films out to tender. 

The Committee stated: "It does not appear to them 
that all these methods can be equally efficient and 
economical . . . enough attention is not paid to securing 
that films can be shown on their own merits to audiences 
in the ordinary cinemas." They recommend that a cen- 
tral advisory council should be set up. "It is evident that 
if expenditure is to produce films, not only to communi- 
cate the ideas or facts desired by the sponsor department, 
they must attain a reasonable standard of entertainment 
value. " 

Having seen the news films turned out by the total- 
itarian countries, I do not wonder that they find such a 
large percentage of footage in the reels, compared with 
our own ministerial selfconscious mouthings behind 
Lyons of Holborn's ornate table. The news! eel as a 
contemporary historian and the magazine films as docu- 
ments have a potential influence on very large audiences, 
and the speed with which they can be produced, every 
three days for newsreels and weekly for magazines, allows 
for the rapid dissemination of Government information, 
but as these reels are commercial, the propaganda must 
contain both interest and entertainment. Educational, 
scientific and action programme films, as well as docu- 
mentary, can all be used to further the knowledge of 
nati mal affairs. 

The A.C.T. with its vast membership of ace 
technicians who specialise in documentary films, is always 
at the disposal of any Government department interested. 

Three-Dimensional Picture From Canaiia 

From Montreal comes the claim that both still and 
moving pictures can be faithfully recorded in their original 
depth. 

Roy Carmichael, in a letter to the "Cine-Technician," 
gives us the first news of the invention of W. N. Jourvorst 
who claims his pictures are taken with one lens, have 
depth, and can be viewed with the naked eye. 

He is at the moment reluctant to explain too carefully 
just how he takes these three-dimensional pictures, pend- 
ing his patent attorney's procuring him complete pro- 
tection for his invention. 

Mr. Jourvorst has many successful inventions ; these 



Sept. -October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



85 



include a speed indicator to show people outside a car what 
speed the vehicle is travelling, fire alarm box that takes 
the finger prints of persons ringing the alarm, an apparatus 
used for recording telephone calls, a park-o-meter to show 
a policeman how long a car has been parked (our Wardour 
Street police need no meter), and a device to keep the 
motors of aeroplanes running after the petrol or ignition 
has given out. 

We await the exploitation of his cinema invention 
with interest. 

He Draws Sound Tracks 

Working in an ultra modern studio fitted in the large 
rooms above a Victoria "pub," film technician Roland 
Kemp works day and night extending his sound library 
of hand-drawn sound effects. 

Already he has over two hundred tracks completed ; 
these range from organs, voices, steam jets, hooters, 
bubbles, to those strange noises so dear to the heart of 
the film cartoonist. In obtaining these very attractive 
tracks, which I had the pleasure of hearing, Mr. Kemp 
told me he has used as many as eight exposures, each 
one representing some particular sound or instrument. The 
results give a very full-bodied sound effect. 

Working on a cartoon bench, he uses one picture 
technique, photographing by means of a Moy dowel pin 
camera, electrically operated and containing many im- 
provements of his own invention. 

The frame line has been a great drawback to the 
commercialisation of the process, but this has now been 
overcome. 

Sound effects can be filmed by this process in any 
tempo or key. 

Some of the hand-drawn tracks have been used in 
the General Motors' film publicising independent spring- 
ing, to illustrate the fact that sound is vibration. Roland 
Kemp has promised the "Cine-Technician" he will write 
an article dealing fully with this very interesting subject. 

The New Metropolitan Studios 

Rising like Phoenix from the ashes of a disastrous 
fire, a brand new studio has been built down Southall way. 

Constructed by the London Passenger Transport 
Board, the landlords, and under the direction of Reginald 
Fogwell, Metropolitan Studios contain both exterior and 
interior lots. The large floor is some hundred and thirty 
five feet by seventy, and is, I believe, the only studio floor 
to be completely covered with parquet flooring. The ex- 
terior lot measures two hundred feet by one hundred and 
eight feet. 

In addition to the usual technical shops such as car- 
penters', plasterers', and electricians', there are first class 
cutting rooms and executive offices for the hiring produc- 
tion company. 

The dressing rooms, both artistes' and crowds', are 
fitted with hot and cold running water, and a tasteful 
canteen provides food and rest for the workers 

A large projection theatre and facilities for back pro- 
jection are available. A very large collection of first class 
properties have been collected, and the modern sound and 
lighting equipment arc in the final stages of installation. 

Cameraman Roy Fogwell has already personally 
selected camera equipment, and will be available to help 



the studios' clients, although in general the hirers of the 
studios will be encouraged to engage their own camera 
crews. 

Roy tells me that the charges for space will be very 
competitive. 

Filming in The British Museum 

It will be interesting to cine-technicians who may 
wish to use the very fine facilities offered by the Museum 
studio to know the rules for film photography approved 
by the Directors : — 

1. Either (a) non-flam film must be used; or (b) if 
infiamable film is used the camera must be charged 
outside the British Museum ; 

2. Spotlights are not allowed: care must be taken not 
to overheat the subjects filmed ; 

3. The objects filmed may only be handled by the 
Museum staff ; 

At least 24 hours' notice should be given for extra 
lighting to be used. The Museum staff give most helpful 
service to those who use the studio, who will find the 
charges very reasonable. 

The wonderful facilities available should make every 
user pay particular care to maintain the simple rules in 
operation. Their reward will be that helpful co-operation 
of the British Museum staff. 



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88 



T HE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Sept. -October, I'XlH 



WHAT IS THIS BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE? 

by an Official of the Institute 



FROM time to time, as we of the British Film Institute 
go about our business, people come up to us and 
say: "But what is your concern, anyway, and what 
does it do'.' What is this National Film Library we 
read about?'' 

We get these queries — although, praise be to Allah, 
with rapidly decreasing frequency — from every con- 
ceivable type of person, from Air. Jones of Tooting to the 
Rajah of Bong. And, of course, we are often mistaken Cor 
a film producing or renting company. 

So just in case any of you readers of the Cine- 
Technician also have not heard of us, here are the answers 
in advance. 

The Institute will be celebrating its fifth birthdaj next 
October. ■ It was established as a Company Limited by 
Guarantee — that means, among other things, that it has 
no shareholders and makes no profits — as a direct result 
of a Report called The Film in National Life issued by the 
Commission on Educational and Cultural Films which 
deliberated from 1929 to 1932. The objects of the Insti- 
tute, put broadly, are "to encourage the use and develop- 
ment of the cinematograph as a means of entertainment 
and instruction." 

This phrase, of course, might mean anything, but in 
point of fact it has been carefully defined. In consequence 
it may now be said that the Institute's main functions 
are as follows : 

1. To act as a "clearing house" for information on 
all matters affecting films at home and abroad, particu- 
larly as regards education and general culture. In this 
connection the range of questions we receive is wide in 
the extreme. They vary from requests from newspapers 
for details of such and such a film that was produced "just 
before" the war to queries from English, Empire and 
Foreign Government Departments on all types of sub- 
jects connected with films. 

2. To influence public opinion to appreciate the value 
of films as entertainment and instruction. This, incident- 
ally, does not mean that we are highbrow, but merely 
that we try to help — through lectures and our publica- 
tions — the average man in industrial areas and in the 
country to shop for his films. We attempt to tell him 
in our Monthly Film Bulletin what the entertainment 
films of the month are about and whether they are good 
of their kind — i.e., whether they are good westerns, or 
love stories or dramas, and whether his children are likely 
to enjoy them. We never attempt to preach at him and 
tell him this film, although boring, is good because of 
its "art" or that that one, although thoroughly amusing, 
is bad because it is produced to succeed commercially. In 
addition, naturally, we try and review all the educational 
films as part of our service to schools. 

■ J >. To advise educational institutions and other 
organisations and persons on films and apparatus. 

4. To establish a national repository of films of per- 
manent value. The National Film Library, formed to 
' airy out this object, is probably the best known of all 
the Institute's functions, and almost certainly the one by 



which it will be remembered in time to come. Founded 
in .Jul\ 1935, the Library has already acquired about a 
million feet of film and tins is being added to steadily. 

It might, I suppose, he described as an embryo 
British .Museum of films. At any rate it has acquired, 
or is attempting to acquire, as many as possible of all 
films which are valuable either to illustrate the history 
of the film or for general historical purposes. Like most 
similar institutions, it is hard pressed lor money and has 
to rely for the most part on the generosity of the owners 
of films to present copies for preservation. 

In this connection the Library has received very wel- 
come co-operation from the great film companies which, 
with very lew exceptions, give copies of their more out- 
standing pictures whenever requested. 

And the results? Considering the financial difficulties 
under which the Library works and the short time it has 
been in existence, they may he considered very good 
hided. The latest catalogue shows that film records are 
being preserved of such famous people as Lord Roberts. 
Earl Kitchener, Lord Baden-Powell, Lord Baldwin, Lord 
Reavcrbrook, .Mr. de Valera, Hitler and Mussolini, King 
Farouk, President Roosevelt, Mr. Anthony Eden, Sir 
Austen Chamberlain and Mr. Neville Chamberlain, Mr. 
Attlee, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald. Noel Coward, Miss 
Gracie Fields. Shirley Temple, Haile Selassie, Lord 
Nuffield, Fred Perry, George Bernard Shaw, King Edw ard 
VII, King George V and, of course, numerous pictures of 
every member of the present Royal Family. 

Apart from records of famous people — and there are 
many more than those listed above — historical events of 
which films are preserved include the funeral processions 
of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, the Coronation 
piocession of King George V and the Coronation ceremony 
inside Westminster Abbey of the present King ; scenes 
taken during the abdication crisis and during the recent 
royal visit to France, a comparison between Derby Day 
at the beginning of the century and in 1937 ; scenes from 
the Great War and the present Spanish and Chinese wars ; 
the Delhi Durbar of 1912 ; a typical meeting of the League 
of Nations; the Cup Final in 1911, and many other such 
events. 

In addition, as mentioned above, the Library also 
contains copies of most of the more famous entertainment 
films which have delighted cinemagoers since the days 
of the first "picture palaces." Among the most intrigu- 
ing of these are " The Life of Charles Peace," one of the 
earliest story films to be produced in Britain. "Drame 
chez les Fantoches," made in 1908 and one of the first 
cartoon films, the first Mickey Mouse — "Steamboat 
Willie" — and the first Silly Symphony — "Skeleton 
Dance." There are also copies of famous modern feature 
films, such as "Blackmail," the first British talking film, 
" Elephant Boy," "The Private Life of Henry VIII." 
"Green Pastures," "Three Smart Girls" and many 
others. 

The problem of the permanent preservation of these 
films — which are never, on any account, projected — is one 



Sept .-October, 1938 

of some difficulty. In 
1934 a special commit- 
set up by the British 
Kinematograph Society 
at the request of the 
British Film Institute 
issued certain recom- 
mendations. These 
were briefly, that cellu- 
lose nitrate films— that 
is. the ordinary "flam" 
film— should be stored 
in non-ferrous metal 
containers, or in bake- 
lite or fibre boxes to 
bold approximately 
1,000 ft. on a core of 
not less than 2 inches 
diameter and in a tem- 
perature of not less 
than 33° F. and not 
more than 40° F. The 
films should be inspect- 
ed at five yearly inter- 
vals, and, upon the oc- 
currence of signs of 
deterioration, the films 
should be copied by 
photography and the 
copj stored in place of 
the original. 

It is difficult to esti- 
mate the average life 
of an ordinary print, 
but it is probably about 
30 years if kept care- 
fully. At the end of that 
time it is almost certain 
that far more efficient 
forms of preservation 
will he available ; it will 
he a reflection on our in- 
ventors if there aren't ! 

There we are then. It 
will he seen that the 
preservation of films 
under these conditions 
is a fairly expensive 
matter and the upkeep 
of the Library will al- 
ways be high. 

As a sideline, the 
Library has a Loan Sec- 





89 

tion, containing at 
present 11G films, from 
which full members of 
the Institute may bor- 
row at a nominal 
charge. This section 
includes a n u m - 
her of educational pic- 
tures and also copies, 
made with the consent 
of the donors, of some 
of the more inmortant 
films in the preserva- 
tion section. For 
example, a composite 
history of the develop- 
ment of the cartoon 
film — entitled "Draw- 
ings that Walk and 
Talk" — has been pre- 
pared containing ex- 
tracts from early films. 
These are hired for pri- 
v a t e showings to 
schools, film societies 
and the like, but are 
not available to the 
general public. 

Such, in brief, is the 
work of the British 
Film Institute and its 
National Film Library. 
The former, of course, 
does much other useful 
work too detailed to be 
mentioned here. The 
Library — well, that is 
where we look hopefully 
into the dim future 
when excited scientists, 
archaelogists and his- 
torians will decant care- 
fully from their tins the 
ancient but accurate 
records of our present 
(piaint old civilisation. 
If yon want to imagine 
their feelings, just 
think what we would 
give now for a newsreel, 
however dim and flick- 
ering, of the battle of 
W aterloo or the behead- 
ing of Charles I ! 



From top to bottom : — The Life of Charles Peace, an English one-reeler of igo^-4 ; Drame Chez les Favtoehes, one of 
the earliest cartoon- films, made in 190R by Emil Kohl; Dan e's Inferno, Italian three-reeler made in roi2 — "the spirits 

of the luxurious tormented by a storm of wind." 

[Stilts by courtesy of The British Film Institute 



90 THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept.-October, 1938 



" I WISH I COULD JOIN " 

says Micky Balcon 



The independent film producer now on the board of A.T.P. 
Studios Ltd. and a director of Capad. 

Break for lunch at Rock's at 1 p.m. — 'bus and tube 
to Ealing — see Balcon as per appointment at 2.30 — stay 
till 3. 15 — return to Rock's by tube and 'bus — back on the 
job at 5 p.m. and have to work half the night making up 
the lost time — was it worth missing my lunch? 

Unquestionably yes, if for no other reason than that 
I felt that I had met a man who intended to make British 
pictures and to make them good. 

"Ask your questions," he said, "and if I know the 
answers, I'll tell you." "About your staff," I ventured, 
and he broke in : 

"I have very definite ideas." 

He spoke very rapidly and at times almost excitedly, 
with frequent takings-off and puttings-on of his glasses. 

"D'you know, one of the greatest pities of the last 
two years, is the number of really good men who have 
been compelled for economic reasons to leave the indus- 
try. During the ten years of the last Films' Act, we had 
assembled a staff of native technicians in the British 
Studios who were second to none in their knowledge of 
their craft. At Shepherd's Bush, under an apprenticeship 
system, we had gathered a quantity of make-up people, 
for instance, who are now thoroughly first-class. Similarly 
there and elsewhere, with cameramen, cutters, sound en- 
gineers, art directors, so that today there is only need to 
import foreign technicians in very special circumstances 
and then the onus rests on the producer to make sure that 
the imported technician is the type that can teach some- 
thing to our British technicians. One of the most remark- 
able things about the British technician is his willingness 
to be taught when he meets somebody of greater ex- 
perience. 

"Mind you, during the great boom period many of 
the so-called 'aces' who came from the other side were 
just names — as technicians Hollywood had no further use 
for them at all. They did not improve the quality of our 
product here and their names were of no greater value than 
those of our own people. There were many exceptions, 
of course, but whereas from time to time it may be neces- 
sary to import experts in the various sections of our busi- 
ness I do hope that the state of things that allowed so 
many incompetents to come in will never happen again. 

"Look at the unit I am working with to-day — not 
a single foreigner on the technical side and only one foreign 
artist. Our next picture has not even the one foreign 
artist. My cameraman is Ronnie Neame, one of the 
best in the country. There are many others, too. still 
in the business, who have long passed the nursery stage 
and who are capable for doing the finest work in the world. 
I am very pleased with my British unit and I know that 
if other producers use similar all-British crews, they will 
have no reason to regret it. And I am going to go on 
using British crews, not for cheapness (although mam- of 
the foreign visitors were paid higher and often unjustified 
salaries) but because they're good. They are all trying, 
just as I myself am, to help Britain to make good 
pictures." 

Halt-on leaned back in his chair and for a moment 
raised a personal issue: 

"You know." ho said reflectively, "in the making of 
pictures I always regard myself as one of the crew, a 
technician before 1 am an executive. I think the main 



point here is that there have been so many executives 
who have not been technicians. My particular position 
does not qualify me as a member of a union like yours. In 
a way 1 wish I could join, but just the same you know 
that I am in sympathy with its aims and objects and it 
has always been a source of great pride to me that I have 
been accepted by my fellow workers as. one of them. " 

"You do not regard the failures of the last two years," 
I said, "as being due in any way to lack of technical 
skill on the part of British workers?" 

"Good Lord, no! On the contrary, the failure was 
due to the men at the top in practically every case. Any 
man who had enough money to go into film production, 
did so. not with the advice of the technical staff who could 
have given it; but against all admonishments they went 
their own way. Naturally, they failed and their failure 
brought discredit on others. But never, never on the 
technical staff. I think a lesson was learned through these 
failures, principally the lack of wisdom in the poor imita- 
tion of American-type product in the hopes that the 
American market could be captured. Whatever other com- 
panies may do, I am concentrating on what I think is our 
first obligation, the British market. There will be no big 
splash headlines about the 'millions' we are going to spend 
Our pictures will be made for whatever sum of money is 
necessary to make them good. If it takes only £10,000, 
then onlv £10,000 will be spent. But of course if it takes 
£60,000,' then the £00,000 will be spent. As I say, cur 
films will be aimed primarily at the British market, and 
if they bring anything back from abroad, particularly 
U.S.A., well and good. If not, we still hope to make 
them on such a basis that we will recover our costs in 
England alone. In future the point of guide will be not 
how much it takes to make a film but how little." 

"And the type of story?" I queried. 

"That I can't tell you much about. I could come 
out with all the usual platitudes about British stories 
and British backgrounds and it would be true enough, but 
seriously, I haven't given as much thought to the back- 
grounds as to the stories themselves. I am only con- 
cerned that they should be good stoi'ies." 

At this stage I slipped in a remark about the co- 
operative basis of film production. Balcon seized on the 
point eagerly. 

"I am in favour of it, highly in favour of it." he said, 
"for the man at the top. The executives and producers 
who back their own judgment in taking considerably less 
salary than usual, or no salary at all, during production, 
should be allowed to recover their money through the com- 
mercial success of their picture. In certain cases I would 
include the stars, or some of them, in a co-operative 
scheme. If they think that their popularity with the pub- 
lic is sufficient to bring their money in at the Box Office 
then they should be prepared to take the same risk as 
the producer and prove their worth by the takings. But 
I would never include in such a scheme the technical 
staff — no, sir, not the technicians. They get little enough 
even when fully paid for their job without being asked to 
lie out of their money for a considerable period. 

"And the future? Well, many schemes are afoot. 
Many things may happen. We have been through a crisis 
and we have survived. We believed the British public 
want to see the kind of picture we know we can make. 
And we will not fail for want of trving." 

J. N-B. 



Sept. -October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



91 



LAB TOPICS 



DRYING THE FILM 

To the amateur photographer drying the film is the 
simplest operation in the world ; just hang it up and walk 
away. But to the technician engaged in drying 1,000,000 
feet of film a week it is not at all so simple. 

The processes of washing and drying are combined 
in the department, and to begin with, when the film is 
"dry" it mustn't be dry. A certain proportion of humidity 
must be left in the film (approx 15%) or it would be too 
brittle and would break too easily and wear too rapidly. 
To this end the temperature of the drying cabinet is 
carefully controlled and must be maintained at the 
required figure of 85° F. to 90° F. When the technician 
comes on duty, he must first check the temperatures, 
examine the cabinets in his charge to see that they are 
threaded or "laced" up correctly, adjust the water supply 
to the washing tanks, inspect the log book to see if 
any faults are reported on his units. He will then pro- 
ceed with the daily routine clean-up, consisting of wiping 
over all parts of the machine and polishing any metal 
work, cleaning the glass doors of the cabinets, mopping 
the floor, etc. If, as often happens, the film is running 
through the machine he will carefully examine this ; first 
at the inspection light or "light box" as it emerges from 
the dark room. He will see that both prints are on the 
film (picture and sound) and that they are of approxi- 
mately correct density ; that is, if either record is much 
too light or too dark he will immediately report to the 
dark room ; he will also see the film is completely "fixed." 
Further on, as the film leaves the wash, he examines 
the emulsion surface for scratches or "trill." "Frilling" 
results from faulty alignment of one or more of the 
rollers over which the film passes and usually renders 
it useless. He then passes on to the "blower," a device 
lor ridding the film of surplus moisture before it enters 
the cabinet, noting whether it is running through in cor- 
rect position and the air blast is acting evenly and com- 
pletely. The cabinet door is now opened and both sides 
of the film are inspected for damage ; with the surface 
water removed and before the drying process is complete 
it is possible to see the most minute faults of all descrip- 
tions. It can be diagnosed with certainty here whether 
the fault lies with the developing or the printing machine. 

The drying room operative must recognise developer 
scratches, printer scratches, oil marks, "rough edge," 
stains, sludge, bad contact, bad light changes, out-of- 
mask, stress marks, static, faulty coating, etc. Having 
assured himself that all is well so far, he looks to the 
"takeup" and sees that the tension is correct and that 
the last roller over which the film passes is rotating and 
not scratching. If ho discovers any fault, he telephones 
the dark room to put the machine out of action and 
the mechanic's shop to come and put it right. By now 
he will have to take a reel off, put it in a tin, mark the 
machine number on the lid, and mark the reel off on 
the "tally." All faults on the machine have to be entered 
in the log book provided for the purpose. The date, hour, 
machine number, particulars of damage, and action 
taken all have to be reported. 

He is also responsible, under the foreman's instruc- 
tion, for the conduct of toning and tinting operations. 
He sees the film is toned or tinted to the specified depth, 
and maintains the bath at the requisite strength. Occa- 
sioanlly an over dense reel will be sent to him for 



reduction, when he will obtain the necessary bath and 
perform the operation. 

From the foregoing it will be seen that the competent 
drying room man can save much time and material by 
keen attention to his duties and by giving early warning 
of faults. Much expensive damage is otherwise invisible 
until after development and drying and would continue 
until checked. 

MEETING WITH EMPLOYERS 

Further discussion between A.C.T. officials and the 
employers regarding the Lab. section agreement is taking 
place on Sept. 12th. It is expected that the talks will 
be concluded very shortly and the long awaited agree- 
ment signed. In this connection it is interesting to read 
the reports in the Press of the number of agreements 
concluded in other trades in recent months. One of the 
latest to be negotiated is between the Optical Makers 
Section of the X.U.I). AAV. and a private employer. 
Reduced hours without; loss of pay, special overtime rates, 
holidays with pay, and recognition of the Union have 
been secured. This employer had developed a price 
cutting policy which was leading to keener competition 
between the manufacturers with the result that they 
too were attempting to reduce the wages and conditions 
of their employees. 

A.C.T. is your only safeguard against similar actions 
in the Labs. 

TRADE UNIONISM 

Some of our members could with advantage examine 
the principles and practice of trade unionism more closely. 
To be a member of a trade union confers great benefits 
impossible of attainment by the individual. But it also 
incurs responsibilities for the individual; tersely summed 
up in the old tag, "each for all and all for each": read 
this slowly and absorb the full meaning. In other words, 
in spite of the apparent success of occasional bits of 
"smart alecking" it is quite definitely impossible to get 
"something for nothing." If you want to improve your 
pay and conditions, think also how you can bring im- 
provement to the man working beside you, below you, 
and even above you. 

Improvement will certainly come, but it can only 
come for all. Stop thinking quite so much about your 
own job. Take a glance at the other fellah, he may be 
worse off than you. Your "rights" are just as important 
as anybody else's; but not more important. 

Take a look, while you're about it, at the illustration 
to the story on another page of the T.U.C. Exhibit at the 
Olasgow : Exhibition. That shows you what can be done. 

PRINTING SOUND 

Comments on the excellent quality of sound repro- 
duced by 16 mm. by optical reduction from 35 mm. 
negs. reopen the question of 35mm. printing by optical 
means. The problem dealt with here is that of "slip." 
Printing optically allows more perfect compensation for 
neg. shrinkage. Other means of eliminating "slip" are 
by using the neg. to pull the pos., as in the R.CA. U.V. 
Printer. The neg. is approximately .001 mms. per inch 
shorter than raw stock. So in 1,000 feet 12 inches has 
been allowed for. If "slip" was completely eliminated 
in contact printing we should be 12 inches out of sync, 
at the end of 1,000 feet. There seems to be something 
to be said for optical reproduction. GAMMA 



92 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept. -October, 1938 



IT is the firm conviction of the Directors Guild that 
rehabilitation lies, first, in changing the present 
"system of production" which pervades the industry, 
namely, eliminating the involved, complicated and 
expensive system of supervision which separates the direc- 
tor and writer from the responsible executive producers, 
which practice has steadily lowered the quality of motion 
pctures through a number of years. 

No director questions the need of executive supervi- 
sion, nor are the directors endeavouring to tell the produc- 
ing comj)anies how to run their businesses, and in referring 
here to executive personnel who are engaged in super- 
vision of creative work in both "A" and "B" pictures no 
director questions the contribution of many individual 
producers who have given prodigiously to the industry. 
These men need no identification. Their contributions 
speak for themselves, and of them we have no words but 
praise and recognition for their accomplishments. 

We speak here of the army of the inept, who have 
been promoted to positions of authority for which they are 
unqualified, inexperienced and utterly lacking in creative 
ability. A survey of the major studios has revealed that 
40 per cent of the cost of production is represented by 
overhead and miscellaneous. Never in the history of the 
industry has this cost been so high. We believe that it 
is to be explained by the "system of production" described 
above. 

Even within the other GO per cent is to be found a 
record of uncertainty, duplication and waste that charac- 
terises the present "system of production." There is no 
desire on our part to absolve the director of some of the 
responsibility, and one of the intentions of the Screen 
Directors Guild is to undertake self-discipline, which the 
overwhelming part of the membership is eager to under- 
take for the good of the industry. But we must emphasise 
that the larger responsibility rests with those in executive 
positions of power. The director finds himself very often 
actually carrying on wasteful and costly practices because 
of the present system. 

PROBLEM OF SUFFICIENT PRODUCT 

In recent years most studios have faced an ever- 
increasing difficulty in meeting their release dates, and 
have fallen short of making the number of pictures yearly 
contracted for. This in spite of the increasing number of 
producers and associate producers. In large measure this 
can be attributed directly to the growing estrangement 
between the producer and the director on the one hand, 
and the director and the writer on the other. 

Let us be factual for a moment ! Following is a brief 
summary of findings covering the position of the director 
today — in comparison to ten years ago ! The most alarm- 
ing and significant fact uncovered was the amazing in- 
crease in the producer class during the decade. 

1926-27 1936-37 
DIRECTORS with Feature Credits 246 ... 234 
PRODUCERS, including Super- 
visors and Associates 34 ... 220 

1927 1937 
feature American-made Releases 743 ... 484 

800 per cent more producers to produce 40 per cent 
less pictures. 

There arc 60 directors with 1936-1937 credits who were 
directing pictures in 1921 and earlier. 

It would seem but natural that the director whose 
greater knowledge of the mechanics of the picture and the 



THE ARMY OF 
THE INEPT 

We reprint the bulk of the anaylsis of motion picture 
production adopted by the Screen Directors Guild in 
Hollywood recently. 

actual working conditions on the back lot can ease and 
hasten stories and scenarios through many difficult situa- 
tions, and whose trained and experienced mind can foresee 
many of their "retakes" and obviate them. 

Times without number when the producer has pre- 
pared a story without assistance or advice of the director, 
situations, stunts, and scenes are incorporated into the 
script which are either impossible of satisfactory achieve- 
ment, or involve an expense out of all proportion to their 
importance to the picture. 

In many of these instances, had the director been 
present, he could have brought this to immediate atten- 
tion and suggested mechanical alternatives that would 
have expedited the writing and facilitated the shooting. 
STORIES IN VAULTS 

Let us analyse this present "system of production" 
even further. Millions of dollars worth of story properties 
are in the vaults of studios. Much of this material never 
was of any value, much of it never will be of any value, 
and most of it was the ill conceived product of the un- 
qualified. 

A great portion of this money is tied up in fully com- 
pleted screen plays which will never be made. On many 
of these dozens of people have worked to no avail. In 
the great majority of cases no director has ever scanned 
a single line. This is a waste of money. 

Of these properties enough has been said — but 
one last statement must be put down, namely: that of 
all the people in the studio the directors have not been 
asked to go over this material for salvage and 
reconstruction. 

Weekly conferences on production take place in every 
studio. Here production questions relating to scripts to 
be bought scripts on hand, scripts in work and general 
policy are discussed. In a large majority of instances the 
directors are not invited. The directors would be happy 
to give of their experience to such meetings. 

Millions of dollars worth of fresh material is now. at 
this writing, being readied for the cameras. It is being 
cut into many parts, in accordance with the practice of 
subdivision of labour. The one man who, in the great 
majority of cases, has nothing to do with the preparation 
of the material is the man who will finally have to direct 
its exposure on film. Because of the separation of the 
director and the writer, when a script is finally handed 
to a director, he often finds in it an accumulation of 
writing done to order with little clarity or entertainment 
value which he must attempt to infuse with life without 
changing a line, a scene, or coming in behind schedule. 

In the making of "B" pictures these conditions are 
even more prevalent and are aggravated by the fact that 
the economy of production is paramount. In the majority 
of cases the men in charge of these pictures are utterly 
unqualified. They have little respect for the medium, less 
(Continued on page 94) 



Sept. -October, 1938 



T H E 



C I X E - T E C H X I C I A X 



93 



Ca mera H ire 

NEWMAN-SINCLAIR CAMERAS 

£1-1-0 PER DAY OR £5-0-0 PER WEEK 

Bell & Howell Eyemos & De Vrys 

10/6 PER DAY OR £3-0-0 PER WEEK 



Studio Lighting 



£3-0-0 PER DAY OR £10-0-0 PER WEEK 



AND WE CATER FOR FREE-LANCE CAMERAMEN 



TiiiMt«i«: •iirard 748 1, 64 13 



fILM LI6ftAftY 
FILM DESPATCH 
EDITING BAYS 



at ee Wardour Street. London w.i. 

NORMAN'S AT YOUR SERVICE 



94 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept. -October, 198ft 



GERMAN FILMS IN BAD WAY 

Compared with 1932, German feature film production 
has fallen off by half. At the same time, imports of 
foreign films have been reduced by scarcely a tenth. 
With the vain attempts to recapture the world market, 
the average production coat for a feature film is about 
doubled. Independent producers have been almost 
ruined and production has played almost exclusively into 
the hands for the three large concerns, Ufa, Tobis and 
Terra, who for their part are able to keep their heads 
above water only by means of help from the Keieh in 
the form of loans, grants and shares. The entire pro- 
duction programme is controlled by the business interest 
of the large concerns, i.e., 95 per cent of t ho films are 
"super" productions, which are outstanding chiefly by 
reason of extravagance. 

Dr. Goebbels declared in a recent speech that "the 
German film, with all its accomplishments, may be pre- 
sented on the world market with confidence and 
expectation." To this Gerhart Weise replies, in a special 
number of "Wille und Macht" (Purpose and Power) — 
chief organ of the Nazi Youth — "We are groping about 
blindly, as if the usherette had forgotten her torch. The 
representatives of the film industry assured us that they 
wanted to help build up the structure of German films. 



THE ARMY OF THE INEPT 

(Continued from page y2) 

respect for their audiences and excuse their lack of imag- 
ination by ridiculing it in others. The result is an inferior 
product. 

The Directors Guild feels that "B" pictures are an 
important part of this industry and. because of their im- 
portance, must maintain, within their limited budgets, a 
high standard of entertainment which can be attained only 
by the best use of the creative talent of the director and 
writer. 

COLOUR COSTS A FACTOR 

With the advent of colour, the cost of production in- 
creases to an appreciable extent. Exhibitors can pay no 
more for colour pictures because they can ask no more 
from the box-office. It is the industry that must suffer. 
Because of this it is more clear than ever that the de- 
pendence of the industry on men of knowledge and ex- 
perience with the mechanics and actual work in produc- 
tion, increases in direct proportion to the cost of 
production. 

Who are these men upon whom this dependence in- 
creases? Who else than the director is at one and the 
same time familiar with the intricate and many sided 
problems ot the camera, of the microphone, of the lighting, 
of the sets, of the props, of the mobs, of the stunts, of 
the cutting and, most important of nil, economically of 
the footage .' Who else has had the experience to justify 
such knowledge '.' 

The significant fact remains that even today the best 
pictures made in the industry are largely those in which 
the director has had real participation in their dramatic 
and mechanical structure from inception in direct associa- 
tion with the executive .producers without the interference 
ot intermediaries. The success of this practice has had 
no weighf in the industry— on the contrary, the practice 
of developing this approach to pictures is on the wane — 



VYe saw later, with a few exceptions, on seeing their work, 
how quick and clever they were in misunderstanding the 
book of rules .... The film genii whom we await are not 
there at the moment, or if they are. the present conditions 
of the film industry have for the time being blocked up 
all the ways by which they might make their appearance 
. . . . The film has cut itself off from life . . . ." 

Dr. Goebbels explained further that "the productions 
of other countries are, at most, not any better than ours, 
but just different." 

To this. Hans Karbe (film critic of the Essener 
National Zeitung) says in the same paper: — "France's 
production lies streets ahead. La Grande Illusion — honour 
to whom honour is due — is one of the year's works of art 
of international importance." (This film was forbidden in 
Germany by Goebbels). "England comes almost up to 
French standard, with four good films." (Karbe gives as 
an example of one of the excellent English films 
Farewell Again, the work of Erich Pommer of German 
origin). "America, as ever, is the battlefield of the world 
film war. We must acknowledge the superiority of the 
place whence sprang creations like The Good Earth and 
Mr. Deeds, films which have a poetical brotherhood with 
other living things. Here the balance between technical 
and creative achievement is attained, the welding of 
knowledge and art." 



and many directors who. until recently, were offered 
creative opportunities aic finding the doors progressively 
closed to them. This costs the industry quality and time 
which are money. 

What built the motion picture was "individuality" — 
freshness of approach, the unique touch which gave vivid 
experience. These were the creative elements which 
raised the nickelodeon to the motion picture industry. 
This individuality was largely the contribution of directors 
and writers. This may be disputed ad infinitum, but it 
remains a fact that it is not material alone which is im- 
portant to motion pictures but also the manner in which 
that materia] is registered on film in this infinitely imagin- 
ative and limitless medium. Today the system offers a 
virtual proscription against originality and freshness in 
pictures. This costs the industry millions of dollars. 

To meet this dangerous state in our industry, the 
Directors Guild earnestly recommends that closer unity 
be established and maintained between the real producer 
on the one hand and the director and writer on the other, 
and that the directors bend every effort toward the re- 
establishment of the collaborative system which was, and 
still is, the money making and good picture making fact 
of the past. 

The director has. for 10 years, been steadily pushed 
out of his initiating role and has thereby been less able to 
offer the industry his technique, inspiration and mechani- 
cal skill. These have been taken over by minor executives 
unfamiliar with the physical problems and possibilities of 
actual production and divorced from the spontaneous life 
of story, actors and director, together on the live set for 
the first time. 

The directors believe in the medium, the audiences 
and themselves. They are ready to serve the industry as 
they always have and they protest that they will be able 
to serve it in direct relation to the opportunity given them 
to do so. They are convinced that they can move in this 
direction only as a guild, because the individual is no 
longer sufficient in an industry which needs not just a 
suggestion but a house cleaning. 



Sept-October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



95 



<zoOM" 




A DESCRIPTION OF THE 
VARO LENS 

The "zoom" effects recently used in the Gaumont 
Sound News have no doubt intrigued cinema audiences 
and the newsreel technician will be interested in a 
description of this wonderful piece of apparatus ; the 
product of the combined skill of Bell & Howell and Cooke. 

The "zoom" effects are produced without either the 
camera or subject being moved as the scene is filmed. It 
not only gives a screen effect equal to a perfect "dolly" 
(which newsreel workers cannot employ, shooting as they 
do from stands, buildings, and innumerable other loca- 
tions) but with the Varo Lens a variety of shots are 
possible without stopping the sound record. 

The mechanical action of the lens is exceptionally 
smooth, resulting in a perfect screen effect, the definition 
being critical at all parts of the "zoom." 

The local Length of the Varo lens is changed by 
rotating a crank which is coupled with a dial, the pointer 
of which shows the magnification and the equivalent focal 
length lor which the lens is set. (This one crank controls 
all the moving pints of the lens). The short focal length 
limit is 40 nun. and the long focal limit is 120 mm. with 
a magnification of x3. Adjustable stops are provided so 
that the range of magnification may be limited to suit 
the immediate requirements. 

The lull range of the "zoom" is obtained at apertures 
of F 8 and F 5.6. At F/4.5 the range is from 40 mm. to 
85 mm. ; at the maximum aperture of F 3.5, the range is 
from 40 mm. to 50 mm, 

The lens is focussed at a fixed distance and auxiliary 
li uses can be attached to the front of the unit for focussing 
on any other distances. Without an auxiliary lens in 
position, the plane locussed on is 150 feet to infinity, and 
auxiliary lenses are provided for focussing on objects at 
nearer distances. Inasmuch as the idea of a "zoom" is 



for the camera to be set at a definite distance from the 
object and not moved, the use of auxiliary lenses is in 
harmony with the use of the lens in practice. 

It is only necessary, before using the Varo lens with 
the standard Bell & Howell camera, to enlarge both the 
holes in the turret index plate to 1.500" in order to allow 
the rear lens to move sufficiently close in to the film. The 
Varo lens is then fitted to the track of the saddle which 
engages with the slide on the lens, and is held in place 
by a plunger locking device. 

The effect from tall buildings, from airplanes, etc., 
must be seen to be appreciated. It is possible to follow 
an actor through a doorway or through a window in a 
manner that is very difficult, if not actually impossible, 
otherwise. 

This is the first time that a "zoom" lens of anything 
like this speed and of this quality of definition has been 
obtained. It introduces many new possibilities to the 
motion picture field. 



OBITUARY 

It is with regret that we note the death of 
MR. E. J. HICKS on July 25th, 1938. Since 1908 
.Mr. Hicks had been actively connected with the 
film trade, when, at the age of twenty, be first 
worked as operator, usher and general utility man 
in ii Penny Animation Show at Lambeth, which was 
situated where the local Woolworth Store stands 
to-day. The auditorium consisted of a hall with 
wooden benches on an earth floor, and when he 
wasn't operating or making effects noises he was 
sprinkling the ground with water to lay the dust! 

In 19T2 he joined the Globe Film Company, 
where his time was divided between projection and 
despatch. Here again his ability for organising was 
apparent. When anyone wanted to know where and 
how to get anything, they just "asked Ned Hicks." 
During the War he ran shows for children, and more 
than once during air-raids kepi the children amused 
and off the streets. 

He joined New Era in 1925, and stayed there 
for ten years as despatch manager, also acting as 
a projectionist for Portable Talking Pictures round 
about the nineteen-thirties. Finally, in 1085, he 
joined the G.P.O. Film Unit, where, in addition 
to despatch, he was librarian and vault-keeper, and 
in charge of stores. 

Early this year his health began to trouble him, 
and it was sadly that he resigned himself to giving 
up his more strenuous amusements, particularly 
cricket, his favourite game. A grand sportsman, 
Mr. Hicks always had a cheery word and a smile for 
everyone. His many friends will join us in offering 
our sincere sympathy to his family and relatives. 



96 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Sept.-October, 1938 



Progress— wi 

QUITE naturally the writers of articles in technical 
periodicals appertaining to laboratory practice 
attempt to impress the reader with an over- 
whelming sense of ultra-efficiency and scientific 
precision, talking glibly in terms that produce upon the 
mind of a layman an impression of awe-inspiring technical 
procedure entailing a correspondingly scicntificially 
trained staff to maintain such proficiency. It would be 
wrong to say that this is a completely false impression, 
hut at the same time who will deny the simplification of 
Laboratory practice? Compare a high-speed lab. with those 
that you knew ten, twenty or more years ago. Conditions 
of working were had, proficiency at any particular sub- 
ject meant long months of training, output per man was 
lower, running costs were lower, but wages were higher 
and promotion a fact. 

And now the progress! Conditions for some have 
improved. There are labs which have air-conditioning 
plants; him emulsion is a delicate flower, otherwise sonic 
of its gardeners might be denied a human atmosphere. 
But there are some people who still regard it as a Mexican 
cactus or gum tree, thriving best in steaming humidity 
with a wet bulb at 1(X)° F. and innumerable chemical 
stenches as a means of fertilisation. Today proficiency 
seems to be expected of a newcomer the (lay he starts 
(the weeks we spent learning to frame up '"in white 
light"!) and little if any training is given. No regard is 
paid to the numerous irregularities and uncertainties that 
always arise. Output per man has risen enormously, in 
fact ludicrously — and running costs'.' Consistency is the 
acme and accomplishment of every lab. But wages? 
■ — promotion ? 

None of the old 'uns will deny the happiness they 
had from those far-off days with their seemingly crude 
methods of working; men were men, living souls enjoying 
the daily round and receiving a just reward from encourag- 
ing governors; theirs was a price of skilled artisanship, 
aiming at the higher position which they knew would 
one day be theirs. Then came the machine, unwanted 
and hated — their task now was to tame often ill-conceived 
ideas, to wrestle and swear, to fight and forbear. Com- 
petition reared its head. Prices were cut to gain custom. 
Better and faster machinery was needed to offset the 
cheaper prices. Then, with a crash of trumpets, they mar- 
ried the picture to sound. Mechanical developers became 
essential for competitive work, studio footage for develop- 
ing was doubled ; studios experienced delay in receiving of 
l ushes and called for a better service ; night work became 
imperative. No cost was spared to gain custom ; the latest 
American machinery was imported; speed, speed, speed 
became the idol of the lab. 

The orgy came to a finish and the bubble burst. The 
gold-bearing vein in the lab's mine, the studios, ran out. 
Processing became a ticklish business. Methods of cut- 
ting down costs while still maintaining standards became 
essential. Faster machinery was evolved (more often than 
not with the help of the staff); accurate control of pro- 
cessing was instituted and still more competitive prices 
quoted- Young lads were employed to run the tamed 
machines and older experienced men retained in key 
jobs. Alter a long period, that position remains, except 
that the young lads are wanting to get married but can't 
afford it. 



th a Protest 

How often have you heard the remark "It doesn't 
pay to be efficient or conscientious"? Haven't you seen 
youngsters put their whole energy into their work, labour 
with tremendous enthusiasm, and then find themselves 
denied even the smallest encouragement? They reckon 
their labour against the pittance they earn and find that 
the answer has a sour taste. When proficiency has been 
acquired they are denied the wages which by right should 
be theirs. Asked to undertake a higher job, they accept — 
here is a chance of improvement ! The usual result ? — 
disillusionment ! 

The older workers feared modern machinery but they 
never refused to impart their knowledge in bringing it 
to perfection. What they feared was not the machine 
itselt but that, to a large extent, their efforts in making 
it tool proof, would mean the employment of cheap un- 
skilled labour to their own detriment. Can any employer 
with reasonable intelligence show surprise if all grades 
of staff join a union ? — both the poorly paid, discouraged 
and embittered youths and the better paid experienced 
men. How would an employer's son who was thus treated, 
spending his working hours in sweating humidity, respond? 
But there ! no employer would have the heart to treat a 
son in such a manner. 

Laboratory processing has progressed beyond belief. 
But conditions and wages in most labs have received very 
little progressive recognition. Perhaps the lab owner, in 
defence of low wages, will suggest that his costs have risen 
enormously. No one will argue about that — he has had 
to face all the whims that have reached this country from 
Hollywood. But who slashed the prices charged for pro- 
cessing below an economic level? Not the staff — in that 
slashing, were they and their salaries ever considered? In 
its draft agreement. A.C.T. has submitted a reasonable 
scale of wages for laboratory jobs. If the owners say 
they cannot pay them, why not stop the slashing and put 
prices back on an economic level? Why sacrifice the 
craftsmanship of skilled workers in a competitive fight 
that spells long run ruin to many labs? One-tenth of a 
penny increase per foot would suffice. Renters couldn't 
complain — they saved a packet when they introduced 
north and south of the river release. Besides which, they 
have always taken the lion's share of the profits obtain- 
able in the film industry. The lab owners have banded 
themselves together — for unity? Or to defeat the appeals 
of their employees ? Why not for a price agreement ? It 
would be salvation for them, for their employees and for 
craftsmanship. 

NEMO. 

SOCIAL INSURANCE 

The National Federation of Professional Workers is 
again seeking an interview with the Ministers of Unem- 
ployment and Health to press upon them once more the 
urgency of reforming the present low salary limit for non- 
manual workers under the National Health and Unem- 
ployment Insurance. In view of the probability of a 
heavy slum]) and of the consequent threat to social ser- 
vices implied by new "economy" campaigns, the Federa- 
tion calls on all Unions catering for non-manual workers 
to urge their members to write to their M.P's. on this 
matter. 



Sept .-October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICI A N 



97 



T.U.C. BREAKS NEW GROUND 



TOWARDS THE 40 HOUR WEEK 





The T.U.C. has broken new ground by taking a stand 
at the Glasgow Exhibition. An interesting pamphlet lias 
just been issued giving a pictorial survey of their exhibit. 

The history <>i the T.C.C. is depicted, together with 
a pictorial survey of the achievements of the Trade Union 
Movement. Jn 1937, for example, wage increases gained 
by Trade Union action, gave over £40,000,000 per year to 
wage and salary earners. Since L938 the working day has 
gradually got shorter as a result of Trade Union agitation — 
decreasing from 14 to 8 (though no^ for film technicians — 
yet!). The Trade Union .Movement claims for the worker 
safety at his work and security in his job, and a feature 
of the T.U.C. exhibit suggests what the Trade Unions 



[By courtesy of the T.U.C. 

have done to this end The law now gives compensation 
for accidents at work and since 1918 over £84,000,000 
compensation has been obtained. 

Trade Unions have played a large part in shaping 
and improving the Factories Acts, which are concerned 
with many aspects of safety at work. Recent years of 
unemployment have driven home the point that a good 
wage is useless if you are not given the chance to earn 
it. A fair rate of pay is not in itself enough; the worker 
must have security in his job too. 

Finally, the T.U.C. Pavilion attempts to give not 
merely an idea of what the Trade Movement has done but 
what it has yet to do. 



Trades Union Congress A.C.T. Library 



Mr. George H. Elvin, General Secretary, will be 
A.C.T's. delegate to the 70th Annual Trades Union Con- 
gress to be held in Blackpool during the week commenc- 
ing September ">th. He will move a motion tabled by 
A.C.T. dealing with the Fair Wages Clause of The Films 
Act. A full report of the Congress will be published in our 
next issue. 



It is hoped in time to build up a comprehensive 
binary containing all books which have been published 
on the various aspects of cinematography. We already 
have most of the publications issued during the past few, 
years, hut if any members have early publications and 
would care to donate them to the Association they would 
he very much appreciated. 



98 



T H E ('IX F - T I-; H N I C I A N 



Sept. -October, 1988 



ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CHIEF INSPECTOR OF 
FACTORIES & WORKSHOPS, 1938 

HIM. Stationery Office. 2/- 

This Eeport has special interest for A.C.T. in view 
of the fact that this year the Factories Act covers film 
studios for the first time. The Chief Inspector, in his 
introductory letter to the Home Secretary, points out that 
the new Act is far less elastic than the old. that general 
and vague terms and definitions are now replaced by others 
more concrete. He further announces that the number 
of the inspectorate will eventually be increased to 332. 
I do not know how many factories there are in the country, 
but 1 feel that these/ gentlemen are going to be very 
overworked if they are to cover the ground at all ade- 
quately. However, it is better than when the factories 
Act first came into existence 100 years ago; then there 
were only four inspectors. One of these, a certain Mi'. 
Leonard Horner, contrived to make himself very unpopu- 
lar. A petition was sent to the then Home Secretary, 
Sir George Gray, by the occupiers of the factories in 
Horner's district, asking that he should be removed as 
his conduct w as "harsh, unfair and injudicious" and they 
hinted that if he were to remain in office he would "bring 
the law into still greater disrepute and the government 
into frequent unnecessary and injudicious collision with 
the people." Let us hope that members of the present 
inspectorate will not be so unfortunate. 

The Report itself is divided into chapters, under the 
headings of Safety, Health, Hours. Welfare, etc. Various 
points are stressed, such as the fact that now for the first 
time adequate lighting is necessary in all factories; and 
in connection with this a certain photographic firm is cited, 
whose dark-room not only has a lighting system which 
does not strain the eyes, but who also provide dark glasses 
for their employees leaving the room for short periods. 

Accidents have increased, being 9 per cent greater 
than in 1930. The total number reported was 192,539, 
of which 1,003 were fatal. The main causes seem to be 
the employment of unskilled persons, long hours, and 
speed-up. The percentage of persons under 18 involved 
in accidents in proportion to the number employed is 
greater than that of adults. The first two years of em- 
ployment are the most dangerous. On page 47 there are 
enumerated eight points which outline a useful procedure 
to follow with people new to the factory. 

Under Health, the care of the young worker is 
stressed, and great attention is paid in the new Act to 
hours of work for them. But the Chief Inspector points 
out that the benefit to health will only result if the shorter 
working time does not mean economic loss, and if the 
necessary nourishment for growth is not curtailed. 

\\ el fare services are on the increase in progressive 
factories. The appointment of full or part-time doctors, 
dentists, etc. is a practice that is growing. An interesting 
development is the appointment of chiropodists; those 
who have to stand for long periods know how valuable 



this service would be. It is mentioned that only a lew 
employers yet realise that the condition of the feet plays 
a large part in the health of the workers, and also the 
importance of a suitable floor surface in this connection. 

The Report draws attention to the Home Office 
Industrial Museum, which has exhibits of all kinds of 
safety devices and which acts as an information bureau in 
all aspects of the Factories Act. 90,000 people have 
visited the .Museum since it opened ten years ago. T 
would recommend to the General Council of A.C.T. that 
they organise a party to make a visit; I feel that it would 
he very helpful to us in our efforts to secure the full 
application of the latest Act to studios and laboratories. 

F. A. GrBAHAM. 



SECRETS OF TEMPO REVEALED 

"Professional cutters of silent films used to make a 
point of trimming about four frames from the begin- 
ning and end of every shot, no matter what it might 
be, thus sustaining a rapid tempo throughout. I will 
go further and say that as a general rule it is safe to 
clip anything up to six frames from the start and 
finish of any shot and that any shot is improved 
thereby." 

A. G. BENNETT in Amateur Cine 

That ought to send all you cutters back to school 
or wherever you came from. The only thing that bothers 
us is, what happens with a shot nine frames long? Do 
you take six frames from the front and only three from 
the end. or six from the end and three from the front, 
or what '.' On reflection, probably the last. 

OUR PORTRAIT GALLERY 




/. Neill Broitm, drawn by Land. 



Sept.-October, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



99 



CORRESPONDENCE 



NOT BUILT IN A DAY 

Dear Sirs, 

The account of the Association's early days in the 
July- August issue of the Cine-Technician made very 
interesting reading, and would, I imagine, serve as some- 
thing of an eye-opeuer to those people who helieve that 
A.C.T. was built in a day. 

The "Grading Scheme" mentioned was the result 
of a very serious attempt to reconcile those who were in 
favour of the guild principle as a primary objective rather 
that the building up of a hundred per cent trade union. 
The committee on the question consisted of Sir Reginald 
Mitchell Banks, Philip H. Dorte, Thorold Dickinson and 
myself, and the scheme was adopted at a Council meet- 
ing at the Radio and Film Club on May 25th, 1934. It 
was, as we realise now, predoomed to failure, and finally 
the whole idea of A.C.T. grading was dropped in the 
following year at a Council meeting held at the "Round 
House." Wardour Street, on February 4th, 1935. 

On February 18th, 1936, at a Council meeting at the 
Kinema Club, the idea of an A.C.T. Technical Society 
to be run in conjunction with the Association proper was 
discussed, but alter a heated and partisan argument it 
was decided not to take up the idea. However, it did 
stimulate technical activities, and on March 17th of the 
siune year a Technical Research Committee, a grandilo- 
quent title something of a misnomer, was formed, its 
composition being Alan Lawson, Ernest Aldridge, Alex 
Fisher. Desmond Dickinson and myself. 

The Council also decided soon after to apply lor 
affiliation to the Royal Photographic Society through its 
Photographic Alliance, and eventually negotiations took 
place with the R.P.S. about the widening of the scope 
of its Associateship and Fellowship to include all studio 
technicians. These talks proceeded almost without a 
hitch., and it says volumes for the progressive character 
of the R.P.S. General Council that it was so. 

.Mi\ Neill-Brown was, I feel, somewhat harsh in his 
treatment of the membership at Lime Grove, since by 
1934 G.-B; had made amends in reaching a total of 60 
members, of which Michael Gordon, the present G.-P>. 
Studio Secretary, was Editorial collector. This was a very 
considerable increase, as earlier Ivor Montagu and I had 
been the only A.C.T. technicians there, and had the 
dubious honour of representing ourselves on the Council. 

One could recall reminiscences at length, the break- 
away of a section of the G.-B. sound staff to the E.T.U., 
the dramatic Council meeting when Cope resigned and 
the subsequent rapid adjournment to St. Pancras Station 
(somebody had a train to catch) to draft a circular letter 
to Council members not present at the meeting. 

However, things are settling down now, and else- 
where readers will probably see an announcement not 
unconnected with the E.T.U., a sign of the times if there 
ever was one. 

Concluding these remarks, it may be of interest to 
your readers to know that the General Council has 
recently passed a scheme which allows for a certain 
amount of re-organization within the Association, includ- 
ing the formation of branches. It is hoped by this means 
to insure a closer contact with the body of the member- 



ship, and to provide a meeting place for discussion and 
the quicker dissemination of current topics. 

Yours, etc., 

T. S. Lyndon-Haynes. 

LIGHT CHANGE— A CORRECTION 

Dear Sirs, 

I think it should be known that what is described as 
"The new system of light changing introduced by 
Debrie" mentioned under the heading of "Paragraphs" 
by "Gamma" in your May-June issue, was first proposed, 
tn my knowledge, by Mr. Parkins, our Managing Director, 
about 1931. I remember at the time he tried unsuccess- 
fully to get Mr. Lawley to adopt the idea in conjunction 
with the Lawley printer, one of which we had not long 
bought . 

Circumstances then prevented its development by 
ourselves, but in about 1933-4 I remember carrying out 
some more experiments on the first model of the 
"Editola" which Mr. Parkins has just designed, as this 
had a rotary shutter, the idea being to have the shutter 
cover the intermittent movement of the light change matt, 
whilst the movement of the film was continuous. 

Although the results of these tests were very pro- 
mising further practical progress on these particular lines 
has only recently been made possible by the advent of the 
High Pressure Mercury lamp. 

However we did subsequently incorporate the original 
idea in a precision step printer which we had built for 
duping, using black spacing for the light change band. 

Our biggest difficulty was getting a satisfactory means 
of punching the holes accurately, but this has been over- 
come and the changes are balanced up to our Bell & 
Howell printers so that grading can be kept constant. 

Although we never thought that there was anything 
particularly original in this idea, it being just the natural 
outcome of the waterhouse stop principal applied electro- 
mechanically, if credit is to go where credit is due, it 
seems that this time English technicians should receive 
it unless further evidence is available to the contrary. 
Yours, etc., 

For ami on behalf of, 
STUDIO FILM LABORATORIES LTD., 
A. DOSSETT 

(in cliargc of Laboratory). 

MORE PIONEERS 

Following an article in our last issue headed 
"Pioneers," dealing with the early days of A.C.T., we 
have received some interesting information from Mr. 
George Hughes, of Olympic Kine Laboratories, dealing 
with the early efforts to organise film technicians. 

He tells that an organisation was formed in 1920 
called the Kine Workers' Social Society. Meetings were 
held in Long Acre. Unfortunately it only struggled on 
lor a lew months before fading away. Another organisa- 
tion, however, was formed in 1921, which was called the 
Film Workers' Branch of the Workers' Union (now the 
National Union of General and Municipal Workers). We 
have in our possession a membership card of this Branch, 
which also, to judge from the entries on the card, sunn 
faded away. 



100 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept. -October, 1938 



Recent Publications 



RAT CATCHEES AND OTHERS 
A Guide to Employment for Boys and Girls in Greater 
London. H.M. Stationery Office. 2/-. 

In recent years the London Regional Advisory Coun- 
cil has had tlic happy idea of setting out a short descrip- 
tion oi all the trades open to children leaving school, with 
a briel account of the nature of each type of work, its 
vocational and financial prospects, and the general con- 
ditions in the industry. J must confess to being quite 
flattered at rinding our curious racket set down quite 
naturally like any respectable industry somewhere be- 
tween watch-making and French polishing. The 
humiliating memory is still vivid with me of a colle ague's 
experience when the Shepherd's Bush Labour Exchange, 
rinding no other suitable category for him, entered him 
under ".Rat Catchers and OtherB." 

But. here we are appreciated for our true worth : 
"The qualities demanded in all departments are general 
alertness, adaptability and willingness to work the long 
hours which are frequently entailed." 1 particularly like 
the word "willingness." 

And at last someone has exploded the romance of 
the men behind the camera. "Camera Department : In 
this department boys start by holding a number board 
which is photographed to indicate the beginning and end 
of a scene. They can proceed to a position as first assis- 
tant or focus man, which entails measuring the distances 
between the camera and the artists. By this means a boy 
with initiative can become a camera operator with pros- 
pects after a number of years of securing a position as 
chief cameraman and lighting specialist." 

This official coldness should sufficiently deter the 
romantic young fifteen-year-olds, ardent to address a Star 
by her Christian name, from pouring into our flooded 
industry. It might have encouraged them to know that 
there are trade unions having every intention to reduce 
the hours of work and improve the conditions- But what 
does it matter'.' We have only to point out to the young 
would-be wage slave that his family tree establishes no 
connection with any of the ruling houses in the business 
and that will be the end of the matter .... 

M.G. 



Minitography and Cinetography 

City Sale and Exchange Ltd. 

This is actually a catalogue of the apparatus which 
can be obtained from City Sale and Exchange Ltd. ; it is, 
however, a very elaborate one. It is divided into sections, 
each dealing in great detail with the various types of 
miniature and sub-standard cine cameras, and their 
numerous gadgets, now on the market. Each section has 
an article or two on the photographic work of the equip- 
ment listed in it, e.g., "Contax Photography," "Infra- 
red Photography," "Grain and Resolving Power," and so 
on. In view of the large amount of apparatus obtainable 
for this kind of photography, this is a useful book for 
anyone at all interested in the subject. A.C.T. members 
can obtain it free from the publishers by sending a 2d. 
stamp for postage. E.A.G. 



FILM DIRECTOE TURNS NOVELIST 

Darkness In The Land, by Roberl Stevenson. (Hi 
mann, 7/0d. nett). 

Hugh (Jerard left London partly to escape the Great 
Plague of 1005 and partly because a psalm-singing wife, 
chosen by his lather, would have brought him little joy. 
He escapes the wedding but does not evade the other 
pestilence. It catches up with him in a little Dorset 
village where he helps to organise defences against the 
terrible scourge. \\ e are given a vivid and absorbing 
account of a brave battle fought against terrifying odds 
with some delightful cameos of the leading villagers. The 
parson particularly. Dr. Prometheus Marbell, is one of 
the most endearing characters of current fiction. 

The author is the book's sole connection with the 
film industry. He wrote it while in temporary retire- 
ment, with his wife awaiting a happy event. In tribute 
to a first novel and in anticipation of its successors I 
wish Anna Lee and Robert Stevenson a large family. 

G.H.E. 



June in Skye, by Elizabeth Coxhead. Cassell. 7/6. 

Except lor a casual mention from time to time of a 
documentary film unit, who as far as the story is con- 
cerned are only dragged in by the heels and have no 
part in the plot, this novel has no concern whatsover 
with our profession. 

The story, which in itself could have been equally 
well written as a short story in an evening paper, reminds 
me strongly of the old song of the bear that went over 
the mountain. 

And what do you think he saw? 
"The other side of the mountain." 

A girl goes from London to Skye (that takes 20 per 
cent ot the book), she meets the boy (40 per cent), stays 
out half a night with him on one of the local mountains 
(20 per cent), she doesn't go back to London (20 per cent) 
— all of which makes the book 100 per cent for the two- 
penny library. 

Or you can get it from the A.C.T. bookshelf if you 
think this sort of dialogue will interest you; it is spoken 
in a moment of surprising introspection by a cameraman 
wdio is (a) afraid of heights, and (b) a great photographer ! 
"What's that?" said Christopher absently. "By Jove, 
yes, a precipice. But I'm not going to let that stop 
me. I may be fairly cissy but you'll admit that never 
stands in my way when I'm really on to the job." . . . . 
Just the sort of he-man our Union needs. 

J.N.B. 



Unavoidably held over are reviews of : — "I Should Have 
Stayed Home" — Horace McCoy (Faber) ; and "Films in the 
Making"— Robb Lawson (Pitman). 



Sept .-October, 1938 



THE 



C I N E - T E C HNK'IA N 



101 



Technical Abstracts 



FILTERS FOR DUFAYCOLOR 

The effect of a colour filter on the colour reproduction 
of Dufaycolor film is approximately the same as that which 
is observed if we place the filter in front of the eye. We 
cannot avoid obtaining coloured whites since it is obvious 
that the filter has absorbed some proportion of the wave- 
length range constituting white light. Thus a pale blue 
filter absorbs some yellow (namely some red and green 
rays) ; therefore whites reproduce bluish because we have 
cut off by absorption some the the yellow rays reflected 
by whites. Similarly a yellow filter will cause whites to 
reproduce as yellow, a pink filter will cause whites to re- 
produce as pink. 

Besides the above-described effect upon white, nearly 
every colour must be affected, since we have absorbed a 
part or the whole of its light — most colours reflecting to 
some extent the whole spectrum. The most useful effect 
for which a colour filter may be used is that of moonlight, 
or of night. For example, it is found that if we photo- 
graph partly against the sunlight, a scene containing 
plenty of broad shadows, an excellent effect of moonlight 
is obtained with a Dufaycolor K.20 filter. The aperture 
should be well-closed down to obtain partial under- 
exposure. Another trick moonlight effect has been ob- 
tained with the so-called "panchromatic" viewing filter 
used by cameramen to examine the light and shade of 
studio sets.* If this filter be used for photography of direct 
* As for example II ford filter No. Sn or U'rattcn filter No. go 
reflections for the sun on water, an admirable moonlight 
effect will be the result. The reflections of the sun are 
coloured yellow and the background will be nearly black. 
01 course moonlight has a spectrum practically identical 
with daylight — but we have to reproduce on the screen its 
psychological effect, which is that of a bluish green with 
highlights of gold. 

The above filters can be used for night effects in com- 
bination with the " Pola" filter. The latter should be used 
at such an angle as to reduce the sky to the minimum. 
Thus it is easy to obtain a moonlit scene w ith a very dark 
sky, and this is precisely the appearance of moonlight. 

Generally speaking the use of filters is strongly 
deprecated for trick effects, unless the operator knows 
exactly what he is searching for. The abnormal colour 
which is necessarily obtained is invariably mistaken by 
the audience for an error of reproduction by the colour 
process. Unfortunately both the public and, above all 
cinematograph technicians, persistently remember the 
errors but never the successes of colour work. This being 
the case the manufacturers of a perfectly balanced colour 
film can hardly be expected to show enthusiasm if a 
cameraman comes along with a series of shots exhibiting 
orange skies and blue trees and then with pride says he 
did with with a filter of his own make (very secret). He 
will generally tell you that his filter halved the exposure, 
tiunie the whole picture, and having proven very success- 
ful in black-and-white, was of course ideal for colour. 
Dufay-Chromex don't like those filters. 

There is no reason why the "Tola" filter should not 
be employed in conjunction with Dufaycolor film. Every- 
thing which it will do for monochrome photography it 
will do for colour — namely, eliminate reflections from 



polished surfaces, such as plate-glass windows, the sur- 
face of water, etc. The "Pola" filter has a slight charac- 
teristic absorption of its own. To correct this we can 
supply a pale-blue filter which will ensure that the blues 
are not unnecessarily reduced, which might otherwise be 
the case if the "Pola" filter is used alone. 

GRADUATED FILTERS 

The value of neutral and graduated density filters in 
colour photography has been insufficiently appreciated. 
There are many situations in which a marked improve- 
ment in reproduction can be obtained by the use of this 
means of reducing the relative brightness of certain areas 
of the subject. For example, in open landscape wherever 
there is an approximately horizontal division between land 
and sky, it is frequently of great value to possess the ability 
to reduce locally the brightness of the sky. This can be 
done by a graduated neutral density filter. Such a filter 
should be placed approximately the same distance in front 
of the objective as its real length. The best position of the 
filter can be judged by direct examination of the image in 
the ground glass viewing screen in motion picture cameras 
incorporating this feature. Such filters generally have a 
maximum density of D-0.50. This is just sufficient to 
even up the contrast between sky and landscape, enabling 
us to get much richer colours into the foreground without 
the ever-present danger ot over-exposing the sky. 

Dufay-Ch romex 

FULL-COLOUR REPRODUCTION OF GROWING 
CHICK EMBRYO 

The introduction of easily manipulated colour-film has 
made possible the recording of biological phenomena that 
hitherto have been unsuccessfully reproduced on black- 
and-white film, because of the distinct limitations of black- 
and white film in recording brightness differences that 
become immediately obvious when portrayed in colour. 

A biological occurrence of this kind has recently been 
solved by Professor Alexis Eomanoff, of the Poultry 
Department of Cornell University, and Mr. E. S. Phillips. 
The authors were dealing with problems so close to the 
creation of Life, namely, the formation of a living animal 
as it progresses through the delicate changes preceding 
hatching and final independence as an individual, photo- 
graphic methods had to be limited to the narrow toler- 
ances vital to maintaining normal development and even 
liie itself. 

In the short period of three weeks a seemingly inert 
object assumes definite form, emerges from its confining 
w alls, and independent life begins. To portray this miracle 
adequately, the authors and .Mr. .Meade Summers deter- 
mined to show development in three ways. The first series 
of pictures depicts growth as seen through the shell w all 
by means of transmitted light. The second series was 
made by cutting a hole about one inch in diameter at 
the blunt end of the egg. With the proper lighting align- 
ment it was possible to see clearly within the egg itself. 
In the third series the entire contents of the shell were 
emptied into a large watch-crystal. As a grand finale an 
egg actually hatches before the camera lens. 

PROBLEMS INVOLVED 
The temperature of the egg had to be maintained at 
99J° F. Humidity, although not so critical as tempera- 



102 



T II E C I N E-TECHN1C1A N 



Sept. -October, 1038 



ture control . nevertheless had to be kept as near the 
optimum value as possible. Since normal development 
was shown three different ways, these conditions varied 
slightly i" each case. 

PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT 

The photographic equipment constituted a 10 mm. 
Eastman Special camera with a 1-inch f/1.9 lens, a 8-inch 
f/4.5 lens, and a 4-inch f/2.7 lens. The time-lapse 
mechanism made expressly for the Eastman Special was 
used for all pictures taken by transmitted light. 

PICTURES BY TRANSMITTED LIGHT 



( Jommercial 
eggs by candling 
cubator box and 
Fig. 1. Light 



latcherymen normally view incubating 
to duplicate this practice a special in- 
lamp-housing were designed, shown in 
from a No. 4 photoflood lamp passed 
through a water-cell which removed heat radiating from 
the bulb. Slightly above the water-cell a condensing lens 
iocussed the light upon the eggs. The egg was supported by 
an opaque, velvet-covered mat with a hole the exact shape 
but slightly smaller than the minimum egg size. The 
entire mat was held in a glass-covered incubator box. 
A velvet-lined tube extended from the plate-glass covering 
of the incubator box to the camera lens, to protect the 
egg from any possible extraneous light. Heat within the 
box was supplied by ordinary resistance wire, controlled 
by a thermostat to \vithin 0.2° E. To guard against short 
periods of overheating, a water cooling-coil was installed. 
Conduction of heat from the lamp-housing was reduced by 
forced ventilation. The same incubator box was used with 
but slight modification for all the pictures portraying 
embryonic development by other methods. 

The f/2.7 4-inch lens was used in making all pictures 
by transmitted light. Exposures varied on Type A 
Kodachrome film from 1/30 second per frame for a fresh 
egg to seconds per frame for the 20-day-old embryo. This 



wide range was caused by the increasing opacity of the 
growing embryo. 

EMBRYO VIEWED THROUGH APERTURE IN 
EGG-SHELL 

The second scries in the motion picture show's the 
development of the embryo as seen from the blunt end 
of the egg. Preparing specimens for this series was ex- 
tremely difficult, particularly from the 5th to the 13th 
day oi incubation. J'rotessor Romanoff skillfully removed 
both the shell and the sbcll-membranes at the large end 
of the egg. When that was done it was possible to look 
within the shell and (dearly see the developing cmbno. 
This procedure was followed until the embryo was 13 days 
old, at which time removal of the inner membrane became 
so difficult (because hemorrhages were invariably produc- 
ed) that a new method had to be employed. In its normal 
state this membrane is white and practically opaque. After 
considerable experimentation the authors evolved a 
technique — old in principle but new, it is believed, in ap- 
cation. When painted with an oily substance the 









tt 




' 1 






V 

membrane became transparent. 




Mineral Oil 



Inner 
Membrane 

Shell 



Fig. 2 Mineral oil placed upon the 
inner membrane to produce trans- 
parency. 



Incubator box and lamp house. 



But to complicate the 
photographic problem 
the membrane wrink- 
led and produced in- 
numerable highlights 
which precluded any 
possibility of a clear- 
cut picture. Any 
movement on the part 
of the embryo chang- 
ed the surface struc- 
ture and accentuated 
the undesirable effect. 
Mineral oil floated up- 
on the invaginated 
inner shell membrane 
(at the air-cell space) 
provided the most 
satisfactory solution 
[Eig- 2)- In addition 
to making the mem- 
brane transparent the 
oil formed a plane surface through which it was possible 
to photograph clearly. By building the oil surface con- 
siderably higher than the membrane, embryonic move- 
ment proceeded without inducing any photographic diffi- 
culties. 

In Eig. 3 is shown the incubator box, with the egg 
placed vertically on a black velvet-covered base. This 
support was made slightly smaller than the sides of the 
box to allow free air circulation. The cover was plate 
glass. Two lights with reflectors were placed approxi- 
mated 32 inches apart ; one a No. 2 photoflood, was 17 
inches from the egg; the other a No. 1 photoflood, was 
If) inches from the egg. The two lights and the egg were 
aligned on the same axis at a 30-degree angle to the 
glass top. This eliminated direct reflection from the oil 
surface, cast enough shadow to emphasise delicate struc- 
tural details, and give an illusion of depth. 

The greatest difficulty encountered in filming these 
activities was to maintain strict temperature control. If 
the temperature became too high, embryonic movement 
was accelerated, and the converse was true w ith tempera- 
tures lower than normal. The reason is obvious when we 



Sept .-October, 1938 

consider the high radiant energy emitted from the two 
light-sources. Although it is true that this entire series 
of pictures was made without controlling radiant energy, 
if the work were to be duplicated, either water-cells or 
heat-absorbing glass would be used. 

Determining the exact exposure was exceedingly diffi- 
cult because the reflectivity of the embryo changed from 
day to day as it underwent structural changes- In general, 
it may be said that the first few days of development 
required less exposure than the intermediate stages, and 
the last lew days of growth the least exposure because of 
the formation of down and its high reflecting value. The 
lens used tor these pictures was the 4-inch f 2.7, and 
the exposure was approximately 1/30 second at f/8. 




1°€ 



Fig. 3. Incubator box, with egg placed vertically on velvet- 
covered base 

"Close-ups" of the heart presented an interesting 
problem in focussing. Since the working distance between 
the lens and the subject was very short, focussing had to 



103 

be very critical. However, it is well known that when 
an egg's contents are placed upon an approximately flat 
surface sagging of the yolk occurs. Thus, it is obvious 
that as the yolk slowly receded, the embryo, which was 
on the top surface of the yolk, moved away from the lens, 
thus throwing the picture out of focus. 

PICTURES WITH EMBRYO I.\ WATCH-CRYSTAL 

The third series, showing the egg's contents emptied 
into a watch crystal, presented approximately the same 
difficulties as did the preceding pictures, with two ex- 
ceptions — humidity and radiant energy. With much of 
the egg content exposed to the air, both evaporation and 
absorption of radiant heat were increased, thus accentuat- 
ing the effects noted in the previous series. 

HATCHING PICTURES 

The most tedious series of exposures were those made 
at the hatching period. Relative humidity had to be 
maintained at 65-70 per cent to insure a normal hatch. 
Because of the high humidity, condensation upon the glass 
cover of the incubator box made photography difficult. 
Also the emerging chick was extremely conscious of visible 
light and often ceased all activity as the exposure was 
made. However, the greatest difficulty arose because of 
extreme variations in the hatching time for each indivi- 
dual, lor some chicks emerged in ten minutes and some 
in three hours. 

GENERAL 

The motion picture, "Where Chick Life Begins," took 
three months to produce, more than 2,000 eggs were used, 
and five separate originals were made at the same time. 
It should also be said that, with the exception of certain 
scenes incorrectly exposed, the fidelity of colour reproduc- 
tion is excellent. At the present writing more than 40,000 
persons in all sections of this country and parts of Canada 
have seen the picture. 

The enthusiastic reception that this picture has re- 
ceived is due more to its reproduction in colour than to 
any other technique involved. Furthermore, if the pic- 
ture may be regarded as a fair example of what can be 
done in the biological sciences, the latent possibilities for 
similar projects are enormous in variety and number. 

(Journal of the Society of Motion Picture 
Engineers. July, 193H) 

A.C.T. Lectures and Film Shows 

Arrangements are now nearing completion for the 
A.C.T's. usual winter programme of lectures and film 
shows. Syllabuses giving full details will be available 
shortly. 

The subjects covered will deal with most of the im- 
portant aspects of film production including sound record- 
ing, camera technique, and laboratory processing. Tele- 
vision will also be covered, while new ground is being 
broken this year when a debate on a controversial subject 
will be arranged between two leading technicians. On 
the non-technical side there will be a lecture on "Trade 
Union History and Practice." 

Lecturers will include Mr. A. S. Attkins, A.B.C's. 
Chief Sound Engineer; Mr. Philip H. Dorte, pioneer 

A. C.T. member, who will be lecturing by courtesy of the 

B. B.C. ; Mr. Stanley W. Bowler, Manager of Gaevert 
Sub-Standard Cine-Department; and Mr. G. Woodcock, 
Research Officer to the Trades Union Congress. 

Film shows will include an evening of early films 
by arrangement with the British Film Institute. 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



PUBLISHED Six Issues per annum (January, 
March, May, July, September, November). 

Editorial Committee: 

Max Anderson, Sidney Cole, George H. Elvin, 
Kenneth Cordon. 



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post free. 

Special A.C.T. Members' Rates. 

6d. per copy; 8d. post free. 4/- per annum, 
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the A.C.T., 145, Wardour Street, W.l. 



THE CINE-TECHMCIAiN 



104 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Sept.-October, 1938 



"In Hollywood, as in England, the 'friends and relations' 
racket is practised to a very large extent . . . there are 
frequently waiting lists . all, of course, relatives and 
friends of important producers. . . . Jobs must be found. 
. . ." — Leigh Anian in The Cine-Technician. 




"I'm his first wife's cousin." 



You need a job, 

Colleague o' mine, 

The landlord wants his money, 

Sometimes perhaps 

You like to eat ? 

Which really ain't so funny. 

Maybe you've walked 

For miles and miles, 

With studios implored, 

And tho' you tell 

How good you are 

It seems to make 'em bored. 

But stay, my friend, 

Don't give up hope, 

Consider for a while ; 

Just get that 

Family album out 

And treat it as a file. 

A stately group — 

That bloke in front 

Was Aunt Maria's brother 

Who went abroad 

Home years ago 

(And never wrote his mother !) 

Where is he now? 

For all you know 

He's in a sunny climate 

In California 

Making dough 

And wealthy as a Primate. 

Like one of those 

Producer chaps 

Mentioned up above, 



BLOOD IS THICKER 

—says Pigswill 

He'll put you on 
The Vacancies 

For the sake of Family love. 

He might have got 

A "ski" of course, 

Or "berg" upon his name; 

But go along 

And look him up, 

See what yon have to gain. 

Are others all 

Accounted for — ? 

There's Cousin Willie's baby 

W ho may, by now, 

Be one of those 

Producers' leading lady. 

I've sorted my 

Relations out 

To see what they are doing : 

Old Uncle Joe's 

Still on the dole 

And Papa's busy suing. 

None are in this 

Blinking game, 

And I haven't got a brother 

But how I wish, 

Oh, how I wish 

That G-arbo was my mother ! 




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if your guesses at the future are not founded upon 
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wrong guesses. When we produce a piece of gear right on 
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To which we are constrained 
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9 



NO. 18 



NOVEMBER 
DECEMBER 



ANTHONY ASQUITH 
SIDNEY COLE 
GEORGE H. ELVIN 
KENNETH GORDON 
BERNARD KNOWLES 
BRYAN LANGLEY 
PIGSWILL 



A. G. D. WEST 

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FORWARD IN HOLLYWOOD 
by CEDRIC BELFRAGE 



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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. 
Advertisement Office: 5 and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, W.C.I. 



Telephone . GERRARD 2366. 
Telephone: HOLBORN 4972. 



Volume Four: Number Eighteen NOVEMBER — DECEMBER, 1938 



Price Ninepence 



FORWARD 

IN 

HOLLYWOOD 



EVER since Sam Goldwyn (the name is used sym- 
bolically) first achieved world fame by cabling 
Chancer an offer for screen rights to his Das 
Kapital, Hollywood has been noted for its cockeyed 
approach to problems. It should, therefore, be no sur- 
prise to anyone to find that, in the new socially-conscious, 
trade union Hollywood, a major fact for progressives is 
the struggle against the would-be industrial and the fight 
to build and strengthen a host of craft unions and Guilds 
which at present are but loosely co-ordinated. 

That does not mean that Hollywood workers are 
opposed to industri' 1 unionism on the broadest possible 
basis. Very far from it. Some of the highest paid movie 
stars have contributed ammunition to Senator Dies and 
his red-baiting friends by openly working for, and con- 
tributing to. the C.I.O.* Bui there are no C.I.O. unions 
in Hollywood studios. The organisation which seeks to 
unionise all workers of the movie industry under one lov- 
ing hand wearing brass knuckles is the I.A.T.S.E, — the 
International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees and 
Moving Picture Machine Operators, affiliated to the 
American federation of Labour.* And the de facto head 
boy of this friendly little group is a .Mr. William Bioff of 
Chicago, alias Henry Martin, alias Morris Bioff, whose 
photograph interested zoologists may turn up in the 
Chicago Police Dennrtment "Rogues Gallery" under the 
index number C37305. 

On July 10, 1935, the Chicago Tribune thus referred 
to Mr. Biofi in a front-page account of the murder of one 
Louis Alterie, head of the Theatrical Janitors' Union: 
"Police acre hunting Willie Bioff and 
Joe Montana, West Side gunmen, thinking 
they might have knowledge of the ambush 
which leas worked out with all the loving 



* Committee of Industrial Organisation, a federating 
body of Trade Unions advocating organ isat ion on an 
industrial basis as against the American Federation of 
Labour, the older organisation , which advocates 
organisation on a craft basis. 



by 




CEDRIC BELFRAGE 

care and attention to detail which Frank 
(The Enforcer) Xitti was wont to use in 
erasing enemies of the Capone syndicate. 
Bioff used to serve as handyman for fake 
/u': 1 ., West Side vice-monger, and was later 
associated with 'Pago' Lawrence, Mangano 
and other West Side hoodlums " 

This Mi-. Biofi moved into the Hollywood Labour 
situation after he bad got virtually every projectionist 
in American movie theatres into his friendly society. 
Moving swiftly and with the old Chicago aplomb, he has 
already rounded up 12,000 production-set electricians, 



1 Of> 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Nov.-Dec., 19£8 



property men, grips, studio projectionists, minature set- 
makers, special effects men, rank-and-file cinema and 
slill photographers, film and sound technicians, lab. men 
and studio foremen into four Hollvwood locals of the 
I.A.T.S.E., which lie calls a Trade I'nion but which can 
more correctly be styled a job-monopoly racket. What 
Mr. Bioff says in the I.A.T.S.E. goes. A tew of the more 
naive Hollywood members asked last Christmas why it 
was that the Hollywood locals cannot so much as buy a 
postage stamp without permission from Chicago, flanked 
on the rostrum by a picked group of boy-friends from 
Capone's home town. Mr. Bioff appeared before the 
locals and smilingly asked the members to vote whether 
they wished the non-autonomy set-np to continue — the 
"Ayes" to so indicate by rising iron: their pews. The 
members had jobs to keep and mouths to feed and there 
is still no autonomy in the I.A.T.S.E. in Hollywood. 
Furthermore Mr. Bioff announces that he proposes to 
extend his jurisdiction over the entire industry and make 
the I.A.T.S.E. the sole union. 

That is a special kind of problem — and a very 
serious one — with which trade union progressives in 
Hollywood have to deal. It shows that all the melodrama 
in the movies isn't up on the screen — and it maintains 
(if you care to look at it that way) the cockeyed flavour 
that seems to be inseparable from Hollywood doings. 
But workers in the Hollywood trade union field have to 
learn to take that flavour in their stride, and indeed to 
make useful capital out of it when the occasion arises. To 
fight effectively for labour you must learn to speak in the 
language of the country. The most recent labour dispute 
in Hollywood — the strike of the Newspaper Guild editorial 
workers on the Hollywood Citizen-News — put a picket-line 
on the Boulevard which included fashionably-dressed 
blondes leading toy dogs, United States Congressmen, 
and 5,000 dollar-a-week directors in snowy sports 
deshabille. To mark the first month of the strike, 
hundreds of printed invitations were sent out for a picket- 
lihej cocktail party, and a noted female star cut a birth- 
day cake on the sidewalk for the picketers, while a fashion 
columnist described the latest picketing modes for a 
sound newsreel. Cockeyed it was — but the strike ended 
in unconditional victory. 

Should anyone judge from this preamble that the 
new trade-union progressive Hollywood isn't going places 
in a serious way, he has got me wrong. Let me offer the 
simplest picture I can of the complex but distinctly hope- 
ful situation. 

The great mass of the workers in the American movie 
industry, who until recently were as upstanding a group 
of rugged individualists as Mr. Hoover could hope to see, 
have begun to grasp what kind of an industry theirs is, 
what makes the wheels go round, and just where they 
come in — or go out. 

Tie y know that Mayers and Zanucks and Schencks 
are not really the bosses. Behind them is Wall Street, 
the great octopus of finance capital. Hollywood is 
directly linked to Wall Street through patent control of 
the tools not merely of production, but of consumption 
us well. The same companies which own the patents on 
sound-recording devices, for example, hold the rights to 
sound-reproducing devices. Film, sound equipment, light- 
ing equipment, cameras, projectors are all controlled by- 
two or three electrical firms which long ago became the 
chattels of banks dominated by Morgan and Rockefeller. 



At the same time Wall Street is rapidly extending 
its control directly within the industry, wall Street has 
a special interest in the movies which (together with 
radio, controlled through the same group of patent- 
holders) represent the most powerful ol all media £or 
manipulating or sterilising public opinion. And so Holly- 
wood observers see "reorganisations" constantly taking 
place, prosperous firms being bankrupted to the ruin ot 
thousands of shareholders, in order that Wall Street may 
wrap another tentacle round the movie screen. Con- 
veniently, too, there are the "decency" scares worked up 
in the Wall-Street-dominatcd-press, enabling such stooges 
as Ha\s and Breen to fight all attempts to inject social 
significance into the movies under the pretext of "keeping 
it clean. " 

Hollywood workers understand that aroused and en- 
lightened public opinion must be mobilised on the one 
hand to combat this monopoly; and on the other, in the 
industry itselt, the challenge must come from effectivi 
trade unions. Wall Street realises that too — and hence 
(since the Wagner Labor Relations Act has made unions 




Nick Grinde and Marie Wilson, leading her pet terrier, 
in the "Hollywood Citizen-News" picket line. 



an inevitable evil while Roosevelt sits in the White House) 
the place in the sun currently enjoyed by Mr. Bioff and 
his openly gangster-dominated I.A.T.S.E. : an "industrial 
union" which, in strange contrast to the savagely 
attacked C.I.O., is patted most encouragingly on the 
back in the kept press. Thus right down the line in 
Hollywood, from producer-employers to labour unions, is 
seen that cleavage that all through the weave of American 
life has cut across old alignments : Reaction versus the 
New Deal. The economic factor alone suffices to develop 
a New Deal element among the producers, simply because 
the masses in America to-day are New Deal conscious 
and there is no doubt whatever that the expression oi 
progressive ideas on the screen means cash at the box- 
office. Heading this producer element is seen (Walter 
Wanger, who is sensitive to the leftward pull of public 
wants but at the same time is tugged savagely rightward 
by Wall Street, to the theme-song of Commodore Will 
Hays' polysyllabic platitudes about protecting Youth. 
Wanger finds that it is one thing to produce a "Blockade" 



Nov. -Doc, 1938 



THE 



C I N E - T E C II N 1 C I A N 



lo? 




William Bioff. Photograph from the files of the 
Chicago Depart Die nt of Police. 

and quite another to get it t<> the public. "Blockade" 
is attacked by noisy reactionary minorities headed by the 
Catholic- hierarchy, and to judge by the feeble attempts 
made by United artists to use as counter-weapon the 
expressed majority desire for "Blockades," the attacks 
appear to be welcomed. 

In the Hollywood union set-up the cleavage between 
New Deal progressivism and reaction Incomes every day 
more clearly defiined. .Mr. Bioff and his IATSE hoys 
have already been introduced, hut even in the IATSE 
as must inevitably happen when 12,000 workers are col- 
lected in any kind of a union- -there is a strong progressive 
bloc ready to smash the gangster element when the time 
comes. Also on the reactionary, or alkaline, side are the 
pure and simple company-unions into which the employ- 
ers have shepherded the several thousands of clerical and 
office workers. 

The remainder of Hollywood's union workers arc thus 
aligned. About 1<), ooo plant-maintenance electricians, 
plasterers, painters, teamsters, carpenters, musicians, 
machinists, utility employees (labourers) and others be- 
long to about a dozen local craft unions affiliated to as 
many different internationals of the AK. of h. Another 
11. ()((() odd workers in the industry— the "talent groups" 
comprising writers, directors, actors, cartoonists, public- 
ists (press agents), set designers, readers, and so on belong 
to the professional Guilds. Of these Crafts and Guilds 
the Painters, Musicians. Writers anil Directors are the 
most militant, hut most of the others lean further to the 
progressive side than the reactionary national leadership 
of the A.E. of L. thinks healthy. 

Contractual relations between Hollywood employers 
and the Unions and Guilds are handled through l'at Casey, 
labour contact man of the Hays organisation I Motion 
Picture Producers and Distributors of America). Mr. 
Casey, as need hardly he said, knows which side of the 
street is right and has at his disposal the best legal brains 
that money can buy. 

Several forms of contractual relations exist. First, 
there is the so-called "hasic agreement" enjoyed h\ the 
IATSE. Carpenters. Musicians. Teamsters ami Inter- 
national Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. This agree- 
ment sets wage-scales and bonis of working, an annual 
conference to discuss revisions, and in its present ph?SG 
provides foi' two successive wage increases of ID"., each. 
There is no written provision in the "bpsic agreement" 
contracts for a closed shop. The closed shop exists in 
practice, and by what is called a "gentlemen's agree- 
ment," but legally there is no such provision in the 
contracts. The IATSE was admitted to this agreement 
in December 1935, shortly after Mr. Bioff stepped into 



the picture, when it had on its rolls a tiny handful of 
Hollywood workers. No minutes of the get-together ses- 
sion between l'at Casey and the IATSE have ever 
been seen. Casey testified before the California State 
Assembly investigating committee simply that there was 
no record of the meeting. He did not say specifically 
that no minutes were kept, hut he phrased his statement 
so as to give that impression. Actually the general belief 
is that the minutes were destroyed. 

Early in 1987 the painters, charging they had not 
been given their second 10% wage rise (the average annual 
wage w as continuously dropping), withdrew from the basic 
agreement and struck for better terms. They were joined 
h\ a group of Craft Unions, as yet unrecognised by the 
studios, who demanded recognition. The IATSE 
promptly began strike-breaking. One of Mr. Bioff's com- 
rades had his offices in Warner Bros', studios where he 
issued union cards to those who applied for strikers' jobs 
in response to help-wanted advertisements. The Screen 
Actors Guild, also unrecognised as yet. made a gesture of 
solidarity with the striking Craft Unions, who called them- 
selves the Federation of Motion Picture Crafts. But the 
actors withdrew their support at the last minute in ex- 
change for a remarkable kind of agreement with the pro- 
ducers, giving them recognition and closed shop on the 
understanding that they would never strike for any reason 
during the next ten years. 

The strike tailed, except for the painters, who re- 
sorted through their International to nation-wide picketing 
of theatres. The CIO lent them fraternal support in a 
boycott threat and they were able to force a separate 
agreement from the producers. The experience of this 




Waltei Wanger 



108 



T HE CINE- T E C H N I C 1 A N 



Nov. -Dec, L9S8 



strike had a profound effect on the policy and programme 
of the producers, of the IATSE leadership, and of the 
small ( 'raft Unions. 

Amon« the Guilds, onh the Actors have been so far 
recognised l>\ the producers. Bui the National Labour 
Relations Act makes it obligator} for employers engaged 
in inter-State commerce to bargain collectively with anj 
group which elections show to represent the majority ol 
workers in its field. Such elections were held by the 
Screen Writers' Guild, which won by a smashing majority 
over the producer-dominated Screen Playwrights. The 
producers' reply to this is to launch on what may be a 
year or two of litigation proving that they are not engaged 
in inter-State commerce. The situation is reminiscent of 
the British "National" Government's attempt to shop 
the showing of uncensored progressive films in unlicensed 

halls by proving there is no such a thing as a non-flam 
film. The Writers Guild case is a test one and on its 

outcome largely depends the late <>t all the unrecognised 
I 'nions and Guilds. 

During the past twelve months progressives in Holly- 
wood and throughout America have known that a new 
element was entering the national labour picture. W hen 
it became evident last summer that progress toward re- 
covery was limping badly, President Roosevelt called a 
special session of Congress. The entire C.T.O. and most 
of the A.F. of \i. pledged their support to the President, 
but simultaneously the stuck market sagged badly, and 
in the financial papers phrases like the following began 
to appear: "Capital must defeat the Trade Unions and 
the New Deal by going on a sit-down strike." 

Hollywood received the new s that 100,000,000 dollars 
of capital originally earmarked for financing film produc- 
tion would not be forthcoming. That there was indeed a 
"sit-down" strike of capital going on was obvious when 
at the close of the year movie producers reported the 
biggest profits they had made since 1920 — a rough total 
of nearly 40, 000, 000 dollars. The juicy melons had hardly 
been cut when studios began laying off professional and 
craft workers by the thousand, explaining that though 
they had done all right in 1937 they were tightening their 
belts for had times ahead (a story to which they stuck 
even when the early months of 1938 showed profits still 




Melvyn Douglas 




Joan Crawford 

rising). Curtailment of production was going on simul- 
taneously all over the country. General Motors suddenly 
laid off 30.000 workers at one SWOOP, The next thing 
Hollywood knew was that 17-year-old Rudolph Valentino 
pictures were being revived because — the law of supply 
and demand having "mysteriously" broken down — exhi- 
bitors simply had nothing else to throw on their screens. 
Here beyond a doubt was an artificially-incubated depres- 
sion, presumably having as its object the discrediting of 
Roosevelt's pro-labour administration to pave the wav for 
the 1938 and 1940 elections. 

Progressives in the Hollywood Crafts and Guilds, 
eager to fight this reactionary move by finance capital, 
saw with full force the weakness of their disunity. The 
Musicians turned out a do-nothing administration with 
which they had been encumbered for ten years, and 
launched a campaign to activise the Union's entire rank 
and file on behalf of improved conditions and more co- 
operation with other Unions. They quickly scored a real 
victory in winning an agreement from producers to aban- 
don the use of stock sound-track in making new films. 
This is estimated to have augmented work for studio 
musicians by 60%. 

Spurred by the mounting unemployment, the aggres- 
sive Painters Union now called a conference of all Crafts 
and Guilds to discuss means of meeting the crisis. All 
the Guilds except the Actors responded, and all the 
Unions except the I.A.T.S.E. (whose organised progres- 
sives, however, sent an unofficial delegation). The Actors 
Guild is divided into two sections: the Senior Guild, 
comprising highly-paid contract players, and the Junior 
Guild, comprising extras and bit and day players. The 
Juniors, ravaged by unemployment, voted to send dele- 
gates to the Unemployment Conference, but the Seniors 
— such is the constitution of this peculiar organisation — 
were able to countermand their decision. The presence 
on the Senior Guild's Board of such relatively progressive 
people as Joan Crawford. Franchot Tone, and Boris Kar- 
loff is not sufficient to swing policy away from the more 
conservative element. But Mr. Bioff's announcement at 
this time that he intended taking over all labour organisa- 
tion in Hollywood did sting Actors Guild President. 
Robert Montgomery, into issuing a "strong statement" 
that his Guild would defend its jurisdiction. The "Bioff 



Nov.-Dec, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICI A N 




Robert Montgomery 



Plan" caused nearly all the other Guilds and Crafts to 
pass fighting resolutions against it. The Directors Guild, 
led by Frank Capra, declared it stood ready to fight as 
its own enemy any group making a hostile move toward 
either the Writers Guild or Actors (fellow-members of the 
"Tri-Guild Intertalent Council"). 

With considerable wind now out of blustering Mr. 
Bioff's sails, the Unemployment Conference commissioned 
a professional research group to study unemployment and 
working conditions in the industry. The survey revealed : 

(1) That 38% of the Cralt and Guild members 
were unemployed as of March 1st, L938 (the percen- 
tage rose higher through the Spring). 

(2) Crafts and Guilds engaged directly in produc- 
tion suffered worst, 48% of their members being un- 
employed on March 1st. 

(3) The average yearly wage for Craft members 
engaged in production was between £280 and £300 in 
1937, as against t4H7 in 1929, £343 in 1933, and £335 
in 193"). (That is, in the heavy profit year of 1937. 
after the Craft Unions had more or less consolidated 
their position, the average wage was less than in the 
depths of the great depression). 

(4) Only about 20% of the members of produc- 
tion crafts are steadily employed, and lor those the 
average year's work is only 190 days. 

(5) In 1936 and again in 1937 the five major 
companies reported an average increase in profits of 
25%. 

(6) Out of the producers' budget dollar, the 
largest item. 42%. is for Miscellaneous and General 
Overhead (which does not include cost of stars, fea- 
tured players, script- writers, directors, music, sets, 
etc.) 

When the Guilds and Unions in the Unemployment 
Conference looked at the findings of their survey, they 
decided that fundamental changes in hours and produc- 
tion methods were necessary to assure a decent living 
standard and something resembling job security. The 
Conference changed its name to suggest its broader 
orientation, and became the Conference of Motion Picture 
Arts and Crafts— "CO. M. P. A. C." for short. It promul- 
gated a five-point programme for consideration and action 



by its affiliated groups (C.O.M.P.A.C. being neither a 
legislative nor a negotiating body). This programme em- 
phasised the need for stabilising production, and called 
lor :— 

(1) A limited straight-time work day for all pro- 
duction crafts between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with all 
time exclusive of these hours classed as overtime. 

('2) A minimum call of six consecutive hours (as 
against the present three) for all workers. 

(3) A five-day work week with weekly wage rate 
to equal that now prevailing for six days, such five- 
day week to consist of a six-hour day for crafts and 
an eight-hour day for talent workers. 

(4) A weekly limitation of working hours totalling 
30 cumulative hours for Crafts and 40 cumulative 
hours for Guilds unless all other members of the or- 
ganisation are working. 

(."0 Elimination of all flat-salary or key-men ex- 
cept one for each Craft who may act as standby for 
a shooting company, such standby men to be paid the 
regular hourly rate with overtime penalties. 

3e ^ $ 

That is a rough sketch of the picture as we see it in 
Hollywood today. We see the producers, following the 
line of their Wall Street overlords, "sitting down" against 
a political regime which is dedicated to safeguarding liv- 
ing conditions and civil liberties of working people. We 
see them fighting the progressive elements in organised 
labour, trying to keep labour divided if it cannot be Hitler- 
ised, encouraging the I.A.T.S.E. leaders to set up a 
racketeering job-monopoly for the entire industry based on 
terrorism. On the other hand we see the I.A.T.S.E. pro- 
gressives fighting for rank-and-file control, and the Crafts 
and Guilds drawing closer together against threats from 
Mr. Bioff and in defence of their terribly threatened liv- 
ing standards. And as a result of being forced by in- 
security, and oiteii by hunger, to look thus closely at their 
problems. Hollywood workers of "rich" and "poor" cate- 
gories alike are growing daily more alive to political con- 
siderations and to the composite world picture. For some 
time there have existed organisations in Hollywood to 
help combat world fascism. And something new has 




Franchoi Tone 
{Continued at foot of next page) 



110 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 



COLOUR — The New Technique 

By BERNARD KNOWLES 



UNTIL it becomes more general or even universal 
to do pictures in colour and all cameramen have 
the same know ledge and experience of lighting for 
colour the man who has done, even one or two at 
the moment must stand in a slightk privileged position. 
He has gone through his baptism. I have gone through 
mine and have come out of the ordeal with certain views 
on the Subject, hitherto held only sketch i I \ or not at all. 

In the first place the black and white medium seems 
to he the normal way in which man started to put 
dow n his impressions of the world around him. lie began 

in caves with charcoal drawings on the walla long before 

he advanced to using pigments and colours. The first 
photography of any sort at all. developed by Daguerrc 
and Fox Talbot, was monochrome, and most commercial 
photography still is. It seems to be easier to reduce the 
phenomena ot the external world to its simplest terms of 
form and composition before going on to the more cul- 
tured additions of colouring. Black and white is the basis 
on which every cameraman must build; it is his high 
school ; colour is his university 

As in all such advances certain interested persons 
would have you believe that the work is much more 
difficult than it actuall\ is. For example, although more 
light is used than in monochrome there is not the enormous 
increase of light volume that I had been led to believe. 
That it is differently applied, yes, and that until you have 
seen the first week's rushes you cannot at first be certain 
that tin.' effect you aim for on the set will conn 1 out on 
the print, also yes; hut that it is more difficult demands 
a qualified negative. Forget yellow light entirely, and 
the new technique is very much the same as lighting in 
silent films of long ago. 



There is a general belief that colour lighting has to 
be fairly fiat. '.Ibis is not true, neither is it true that 
"modelling" results in colour distortion. It is more in- 
teresting to "frame" a shot with coloured objects because 
the composition can be improved or destroyed b\ tin- 

colour distribution in the frame space in what would other- 
wise be an effective design of line and mass. On a Techni- 
color picture, of course, it is fairly easy to escape the 
snags of the tyro, owing to the very expert guidance of 
the company s advisers, who are there to help you achieve 
your object without the headache of wondering what is 
the best wa\ to go about it. The experience and ideas 
ol the cameraman with the help of the advisers can be 
easily combined to give really satisfactory results. 

A higher standard of operating is necessary, as can 
be readily understood, but this is largely a matter for 
time and experience on the pari of the man himself than 
tor any greater degree of intelligence. It is only a further 
application ol the knowledge he already has. The camera- 
man has to be a little more careful with light balance, 
but if be is gootl in monochrome he should be good in 
colour. It is not just a matter of getting the appropriate 
light and shade to fall in the right places; it is the artistic 
use of the colours that have been given to you by the 
art director and dress designer. A study of some of the 
classic oil paintings in our public galleries would give the 
lighting expert a wealth of knowledge that hi- could apply 
to his ow n art of painting with light. 

W hen working on the "Mikado" at I'inewood during 
the last month or two I learnt more about colour lighting 
than all the reading I have done recently could ever have 
taught me. One thing did rather take me by surprise, 
however, and that was the amazingly good quality of 



FORWARD IN HOLLYWOOD [Continued Iron, previous page) 



arisen in connection with the California State elections to 
lie held at the end of this year. Studio workers, conscious 
that they can do little without a genuine New Deal ad- 
ministration in the State Capital, have banded together to 
oust the crooked Republican administration which has 
ruled California since the dawn of the century. The 
.Motion Picture Democratic Committee, headed by such 
personalities as Miriam Hopkins. Melvyn Douglas, Paul 
Muni, Gloria Stuart and others, is vigorously campaigning 
to "bring the New Deal to California" and to send trusted 
New Deal Congressmen and Senators to Washington. 
There will be no repetition in 1938 of the disgraceful hap- 
penings of the Upton Sinclair-for-Ooverninent elections 
of L934, when every studio worker was forced to give a 
day's pay toward the defeat of Sinclair and there was 
no organisation powerful enough to protest effectively. 
In laet. a working model of democracy in expected in 
these parts almost any time now. The movie industry 
is a key position lor democracy to w in. What happens 
in Hollywood, and what happens in even other movie 
industry under a democratic form of government, lias 

national and international effects. 



Editorial Note — Since the following article was written, 
the situation lias materially changed, and with dramatic 
suddenness. On September io, the organised progressives in 
the Hollywood locals of the I.A.T.S.E. filed charges with 
the National Labor Relations Board alleging violation of 
the Wagner Act by international leaders of the Union and 
the producers. One accusation in support of this position 
was that Bioff had received a $100,000 bribe from Joseph 
Schenck, head of the Motion Picture Producers Association. 
Bioff and Kent denied the bribe charge, but Bioff admitted 
"borrowing" $100,000 from Schenck. The day after publica- 
tion of the I.A.T.S.E. progressives' charges before the 
N.L.R.B., the international leadership of the I.A.T.S.E. 
suddenly granted autonomy to the four Hollyw ood locals 
and ordered elections of officers. In the two largest locals, 
37 and 83, progressives succeeded in electing a majority of 
officers. Bioff has resigned from any connection with the 
LA .7 .S.E. Progressive leaders now feel that the way is open 
lor genuine hade unionism among the key cine-technicians 
organised into the I.A.T.S.E., and for the building of real 
unity between I.A.T.S.E. and other Hollywood unions. 



Nov. -Dec. 1938 



THE 



C IXE-TECHNICIA N 



111 



the black and white rushes that we got, and these, re- 
member, were taken i'rom one of the negatives, the 
blue record, which only gives about 25% to 30% of the 
total colour range ot the scene photographed. On many 
days these prints measured up to the standard of any 
good black and white show copy. It this quality is pos- 
sible from the Technicolor laboratories on only a quarter 
or a third ot a lull negative's possibilities it gives one 
furiously to think. 

Technicolor rushes are. of course, usually in black and 
white, but this docs not in any way cramp the cutter's 
style as it is not really necessary for him to try and 
match the colours himself. On the final prints the 
the laboratories match the colours with really amazing 
accuracy. To give the cameraman an idea of how the 
colours themselves are turning out during the process of 
shooting, the labs always supply a colour strip or "pilot" 
taken irom a ten or twelve foot test which is run off at 
the end of each shot. These "pilots" give a very good 
guide as a day-to-day check for the cameraman, and as 
far as the cutter is concerned, if he does wish to check 
his colour matching, he can always refer to the "pilots." 

W ith all this in his favour and the colour experts 
beside him there is no need for the cameraman who has 
come straight irom monochrome to panic. He lights just 
as he wants to. In many respect indeed his work is 
easier. There is less likelihood of "visibility" error in 
colour than in black and white, as naturally one has colour 
separation. One thing I feel we should avoid, of course, 
is the splashing on of colour for colour's sake, as in my 
view a piece of bad colour contrast is very much more 



obvious than a piece of bad monochrome. 

Another technician who will have to be more careful 
of his work in colour is the art director, who must be an 
artist — and 1 mean "artist" in its very best sense. On 
the "Mikado" the set designer was Vertis, a man who 
has clone a great deal of work for the Continental stage. 
His set drawings were things of great beauty, but tor 
shooting purposes his sense of form had to be translated 
into cinematic terms by art director Brinton. 

Of the technical crew as such the man who must 
have the highest artistic sense must, of course, be the 
director himself, but for the achievement of a truly 
satisfying colour film a very much closer co-operation be- 
tween cameraman, director and art director is required 
than is necessary for black and white. 

In the long run the man to whom colour makes the 
biggest difference is the man who writes the script. He 
must not only visualise the story but must be able to 
appreciate how the telling of that story in colour is going 
to affec t his writing of it. He cannot just write his script 
as though it were for black and white and let the director 
and the cameraman work it out on the floor. Colour must 
be written before it can be used intelligently. It must be 
used because it has an integral part to play in the working 
out ot the theme. Colour increases the range and pos- 
sibility of script writing 100%. There is a far greater 
scope for emotional effect, and of the presentation of a 
subject in colour than could ever be obtained from the 
medium in w hich we have worked for so long. The artist- 
technicians can do their part — we look to the writers to 
do theirs. 



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the mechanism. Footage indicator and level sun in the 
re-loadcd. The Brilliant Finder is compensated for 
supplementary lenses always ready to slide into position, 
with long and short eye-pieces permits of the focussing of 
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lens hoods. 



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Telegrams : Oraculum, Pari, London 



112 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Nov. -Dec, 1988 



RECENT ADVANCES IN ELECTRONICS and 
THEIR APPLICATION to KINEMATOGRAPHY 

By A. G. D. WEST, M.A., B.Sc. 



The British Kinematograph Society opened its winter session 
on October 20th. We are pleased to print a summary of the 
President's address on a subject of importance lo alt film 
technicians. 

Until the electron tube made possible the introduc- 
tion of sound accompaniment to the moving picture, there 
had been no new principle introduced, since its founda- 
tion, in the practice of kinematography. 

The position of sound talking picture has now been 
consolidated and we are faced with the next fundamental 
change due to the incidence of the electronic art on the 
picture aspect of kinematography. It is imperative that 
technicians become familiar with the trend of modern 
technique in this direction. 

PRINCIPLES OF ELECTRONICS 

Application of the science of electronics (that branch 
of science which relates to the conduction of electricity 
through gases or in vacuo) specified the use of electron 
tubes in which electrons were controlled to do different 
jobs. 

There are four different types of such tubes: 

1. Thermionic vacuum tubes. 

2. Photo-sensitive tubes. 

3. (las-filled conduction tubes. 

4. Gas-filled lamps. 

In every case the process consists of three distinct 
stages : — 

1. The release of electrons from conductors into 
the tube. 

2. The control of these free electrons as they 
move about inside the tube. 

3. The making use of their movement and the 
energy which they represent in a specific 
way. 

ELECTRON EMISSION 

Electrons are produced or released from conductors 
only by giving them enough energy to break through the 
surfaces of the conductor. This can be done in five 
ways : — 

1. Photoelectric emission due to action of light. 

2. Secondary emission, caused by the impact on 
a conductor of electrons travelling at high 
velocity. With certain substances an elec- 
tron is capable of releasing from one to ten 
electrons when it strikes their surface. 

3. Thermionic emission due to heat. 

4. Cold emission of electrons which takes place 
when the surface of a metal is subjected to 
the presence of a very intense electric field 
of force. 

5. By ionisation of gases whereby an electron 
impacting a molecule of gas causes it to re- 
release a further free election. 

Their movement is controlled in three ways: — 
1. By electrostatic field of force. 



2. By electromagnetic field of force. 

3. Due to presence and motion of nearby 

electrons. 

Their energy is utilised in three ways: — 

1. Bj making them enter a conductor and 
charge it up, resulting in a flow of current 
from the tube. 

2. By causing them to bombard something in 
the tube to heat it up. 

3. By causing them to impact on a screen con- 
sisting of fluorescent material giving rise to 
light. 

CONSIDERATION OF ELECTRON PROCESSES 

Certain processes are very familiar and the following 
are two further processes which have attained very consi- 
siderable importance in electronic work and illustrate how 
they can he used in furthering the progress. 

SECONDARY EMISSION OF ELECTRONS 

It has been found that if a stream of electrons is 
allowed to bombard a metallic surface having certain 
definite characteristics, each electron can be made to dis- 
place a definite number of electrons, depending on the 
type of surface which is used. The cold emission of 
electrons so far has not been made use of with advantage 
in developing electron tidies, but the use of electron tubes 
where the ionisation of gases is employed lias made great 
strides in recent years. 

ELECTRON OPTICS 

The movement of an electron under the influence of 
electro-magnetic or electro-static fields is defined in 
accordance with certain well specified and well known 
laws. The analogy between electron optics and geometri- 
cal optics is seen when we realise that corresponding to 
the laws of the rectilinear propagation of light and the 
laws of refraction and reflection are similar laws holding 
for the movement of electrons. It is the study of electron 
optics which has enabled television engineers to make 
great progress in the cameras and picture reproducers 
which they now use. 

FLUORESCENCE 

The use of fluorescent materials at the present 
moment constitutes by far the most important of the 
methods employed for the reproduction of television 
pictures. 

PRACTICAL ELECTRON TUBES 

The photo-electric cell is the fundamental device for 
use in the transmission of vision from one point to another 
by electronic methods. The maximum sensitivity avail- 
able at the moment for the type of cell which can be used 
for this purpose, namely the caesium cell, is about 50 
microampures per lumen. If electrons from the photo- 
sensitive surface, before being led out of the tube, can 
be made to strike a surface which has secondary emitting 
qualities, then the electron current can be magnified many 
times, in cases up to 10 times. If this process can be 
repeated, then it is possible to obtain much greater effec- 
tive magnification. 



For your future reference, you may find this useful on your Notice Board 



SHAW JONES* 

Day and Night 

CAMERA HIRE SERVICE 

The New Turret Head Newman is now included in our Fleet. 

The Fleet at present consists of Nine NEW AND COMPLETELY UP-TO-DATE 200 Ft. NEWMAN 
SINCLAIR CAMERAS. Each equipment has at least Four Magazines ; Tripod ; Camera Sling ; View 
finder corrected for Parallex ; a Selection of Lenses ; all usual Filters ; Filter and Gauze Holders ; 
Leather Carrying Cases, etc. Some are also fitted with Reflex Finders ; Telephoto Lenses ; Polar 
Screens; Court Treat Release and Loading Bags. The Charges are: £2 2s. Od. per day; £10 10s. Od. 
per week : or £30 0s Od. a month. Further Reductions are made for periods of 3 months and over. 
An Operator is also available, with Portable Lighting Equipment for Dufay Colour or Black and 
White at a reasonable charge. Also for hire a portable 35 m.m. Projector, motor or hand driven, 
universal A C. or D.C. voltage, with air blower for projecting Single frames, and variable speed motors 
Loading Bags and Camera Slings for sale. 
Camera Lenses available are as follows ; — 



CAMERA No. I. 

I£' F/1.9 
2" F/1.9 
V F/3 5 
3' F/1.9 
6' F/4.5 

CAMERA No. 6 

2' FI.9 
4' F3.5 
9' F5.5 



CAMERA No. 2. 

\\' F/1.9 
2" F/1.9 
2" F/3.5 
4" F/3.5 



CAMERA No. 7. 

2' F2.9 
4' F3.5 
9* F5.5 



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CAMERAS No. 3 & 4. 

\\" F/1.9 
2" F/1.9 
3' F/l/9 



CAMERA No. 8. 

\\" F/1.9 
2" F/3.5 



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r F/1.9 

2' F/3.5 
4' F/3.5 
9* F/5.5 



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TURRET HEAD 

r F/1.9 

!£' F/1.9 
2' F/1.9 
3' F/1.9 



PHOTOGRAPHIC 
DARK ROOMS 

We have now started a new service. This consists of a number of up-to-date DARK ROOMS, 
equipped on modern lines for the use of amateur and professional still photographers, at our new 
headquarters in Shaftesbury Avenue. The service includes ths use of enlargers. glazing machines, 
etc.. etc., etc. We cater for the comfort and every possible requirement of our clients. 



59 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W.I 

— — Telephone number remains: Gerrard 6716 — — 



\ov.-Dec, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



113 



MULTIPLIER THERMIONIC VALVES 

Such principles can be adapted to give high amplifi- 
cation thermionic tubes. The Philips-Mullard secondary 
ciiiission valve. Type TSE4, is the first practical example 
ot such a tube. The practical use of such a valve is best 
demonstrated by comparing what was regarded two years 
ago as a radio amplifier for television of the highest efli- 
ciencv with today's product of the same tvpe. 

ELECTRON IMAGE TUBE 

The image converter tube clearly shows the analogy 
between electron optics and geometrical optics. It con- 
sists ot a vacuum tube having two comparatively flat 
ends, one of which is occupied by a photo-sensitive sur- 
lace. the other by a screen of fluorescent material. A 
light image is projected on to the photo sensitive surface 
by this little film projector. The electrons which are re- 
leased from the photo sensitive surface, more from the 
light parts and less from the dark parts of the image, 
are concentrated by the electron lens on to the fluorescent 
screen where a visible image of the original is reproduced. 
ELECTRON MICROSCOPE 

The original electron source is not in this case a 
picture but a small, almost point source of electrons pro- 
duced at a thermionic cathode. A device of this nature 
is called an electron gun. At the other end of the tube is 
a liuorescent screen and an image of the small source can 
be formed on the screen by means of the electrostatic 
electron lens system formed by the anode of the tube. 
If in addition we have another lens formed by current in a 
coil of wire round the tube we shall have a two lens 
system, resulting in a greatly enlarged image of the small 
cathode on the fluorescent screen. This device is called 
an electron microscope. 

PRINCIPLES OF SCANNING AND THE 
STORAGE PRINCIPLE 

In electronic television the scanning of a picture and 
its reconstitution at the receiver are both performed by 
means of a cathode ray beam of electrons. As regards 
the transmission of tone values to give a visible picture, 
the analysing scanning beam transforms the light values 
of the individual elements of the scene into electrical 
impulses which in turn control the intensity of the beam 
at the receiver to reproduce each element of the received 
picture at its correct tone value. 

Screen 



FRAME DEFLECTOR UNIT 



LINE DEFLECTOR 



■CATHOVISOR- C.R 





FOCUS COIL 



SION AMPLIFIER 



MAIN SWITCH 



TIME-BASE GENERATOR 



TALK-BACK AMPLIFIER 



TUBE HEATER 
CURRENT METER 



TUBE ANODE 
C U RRENT METER 



FOCUS CONTROL 



VISION CAIN 



Figure 2. 

Latest type of Baird Cathode Ray Tube Projector for the 
Cinema. 

The problems of sensitivity in the pick-up, and of 
tin' brightness of the received picture, both depend 
primarily on the standard of definition selected. The 
problem has been partially solved by applying a principle, 
which is probably of greater general importance than any 
other recent development, namely the storage of the action 
of light in each element of the picture, for the full period 
of time between two successive traversals of the scanning 
beam over that element. 

CATHODE RAY TUBE AS REPRODUCER 

For a complete transmission system it is necessary 
to transmit continuously four separate items: the vision 
signal (representing the value of light or shade) at any 
given moment, the line synchronising control, the frame 
or picture synchronising control, and the sound. These 
can be combined, the first three into one channel and 
the last into another channel, giving two channels of trans- 
mission which may be cither two radio transmission links 
or two cables between camera and reproducer. 

COLOUR & BRIGHTNESS OF CATHODE 
RAY TUBES 

oted in general to 



been uev 



CATHODE RAY PROJECTION 

Figure t. 



Recent researches have 
two things : — 

1. The production of light of any colour. 

2. The attainment of much greater brightness 
The attached figures (1) and (2) show what can be 

done in the direction of large screen projection from a 
small brilliant cathode ray tube. Fig. 3 shows the rate 
of progress during the last two years in the illumination 
of the large screen by this method and it is fairly (dear, 
as there are at the moment no vital stumbling blocks 
apparent, that results will eventually be achieved which 
will not suffer as regards brightness by comparison with 
the normal cinema projection. 



1 1 1 



T HE CI X E-T E (' 11 X I C I A N 



Nov.-Dec., 1938 



APPLICATIONS OF ELECTRONICS TO THE 
PRESENT SYSTEM OF K I N E M ATOG R APH Y 

Applications to Sound: The applications of ther- 
mionic multiplier tubes and multiplier cells in this par- 
ticular field can have great results by introducing com- 
pactness into the equipment with possible improvements 
in quality of reproduction. Also I sec useful immediate 
applications of cathode ray tubes to sound recording 
control — even recording itself; also to providing new 
measurement devices for studying the acoustics of 
cinemas, and the distribution of sound in them with, 
finally, the automatic control of sound volume to a given 
standard. 

Applications to the Picture: For the picture in its 
progress through the camera, processing, printing and 
projection stages, even though a fixed technique exists 
which has little relation to the electronic art, I can see 
many minor uses for electronic methods which would 
be of great assistance in saving costs of production and 
providing a more uniform product. An interesting 
example of research is taking place in studying the grain 
size of various emulsions and the effect on gain ol the 
processes -to which the emulsions are subjected. This 
lias been done very effectively h\ means of a recording 
microscope using a photo-electric cell, thus making it 
possible to give a reasonably true measurement ol the 
grain size and of the distribution o/ different sizes of 
grain. The use of photo-electric methods of li^ht measure- 
ment is by no means universal amongst cameramen, but 
I believe that if scientific methods were adopted in this 
connection and if film printers were available with an 

RECENT HISTORY OF LARGE SCREEN ILLUMINATION 
(ON SCREEN 8 - k (,' ) 

MI CH UCKf ILLUMINATION 

mm 




JAN. JULY JAN J'J'_Y 

ISM 1337 g*J ~ t '~;i 

A ILLUMINATION TALLIN& ON SCS KN 

B (OUTVALINT ILLW/I^A TIQH "JM1N USlHC CLASS felAOtP SC.^EfN 

C COUIYALCNT ILLUMINATION Vlti USINC SPECIAL SCBiEN WHIC H 

BCfLCCTS IWKT ONLY INTO THf API A OCCUPlfP CT SOTS . 

Figure 3. 




STORAGE PROJECTION SYSTEM 

Figure 4. 

automatic photoelectric control of the printer light (which 
could be used in all cases except where special effects are 
desired) then there would be much saving of time spent 
in the process of estimating printer exposures, and much 
greater unformity achieved throughout prints distributed 
lor projection. Such uniformity or rather standardisation 
of prints will become a very necessary matter when the 
problem of screen brightness is solved as it will be, in 
all probability, with photoelectric methods. 

From the point of view of studio lighting there appears 
to be a great future in the gas discharge lamp as, for 
example, the high pressure mercury vapour luminescent 
powder lamp. 

THE POSSIBILITIES OF AN A L L- E L ECT RO N I C 
SYSTEM 

The following general types of equipment are avail- 
able at the moment: — 

1. A camera which can be used under reason- 
aide conditions of lighting. It has certain 
faults such as small depth of focus, and the 
presence of certain shadow effects which 
occasionally mar the picture, and insufficient 
detail for our purpose and also possiblv a 
limited contrast range. I am being critical. 

2. A method either means of a short wave radio 
relay or a cable connection of limited range, 
w hereby the pictures provided by the camera, 
used either under fixed studio conditions or 
interest items, are linked to a central distri- 
bution system in a manner which, though 
often successful, for the time being cannot 
be regarded as show ing 100% reliability and 
quality. 

3. A radio distribution system which though 
thoroughly effective as far as it goes, has a 
very limited range, says only 20 miles or less, 
where reception can be guaranteed tree from 
interference. As an alternative we can 
visualise a high definition underground cable 
distribution system which can have a reason- 
able range but the setting up of which in- 
volves the expenditure of a very large sum 
of money. 

(Continued at foot of page 116) 



Nov.-Dec, 1938 THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



HOLIDAYS WITH PAY 

AND AFTER 

Thousands and thousands of Trade Union members 
have benefited from the welcome extension of the Holidays 
with Pay movement. Thousands more will be doing so 
next year. 

Many Union members receiving Holiday Pay will no 
doubt wish to take their families away with them for a week 
by the sea or in the country. To know that the whole family 
is enjoying a healthful holiday will in itself be a source of 
happiness and peace of mind. To have a family holiday — 
and indeed to have any holiday that is to be of maximum 
benefit— Union members will do wisely if they resolve to 
supplement their Holiday Pay by personal savings. 

Preparation for next year's holiday should be going on 
now, and the most convenient way of putting by a bit of 
money for it week by week is to join a NATIONAL SAVINGS 
HOLIDAY CLUB. Clubs of this kind have already been 
established in thousands of places of employment throughout 
the country, providing employees with a secure means of 
saving personally for holiday purposes. 

Trade Union officials are in some industries doing 
valuable service for their members by encouraging the setting 
up of National Savings Holiday Clubs in Works, Factories, 
Offices and other places of employment. 

The National Savings Committee offers every assistance 
in the organisation of such Clubs, including the provision of 
a speaker to address prospective members and in providing an 
explanatory circular letter for distribution. Membership 
cards, literature, etc., are supplied free. 

Enquiries should be addressed to the 
NATIONAL SAVINGS COMMITTEE 
(Dept. R. 21 ), LONDON, S.W.L 



.•. .\ 4. :.\ * * * + * + * * * * * ♦% * * * * * * * * * * * * 4* * * % 



110 



T H E 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Nov. -Dec, 1988 



THANK YOU, MR. STANLEY 

A second open letter to the President of the Board oj Trade 

Dear .Mr. Stanley, 

We wrote to you in these pages eight months ago. 
We are still hoping to hear from you in reply. You will 
remember that we reminded you of the capabilities of 
British technicians and asked if you would give them a 
chance to get hack to work. We thought it wasn't ask- 
ing too much. Apparently we were mistaken. Whileyou 
were steering the Cinematograph Films Hill through the 
Houses of Parliament you were not unaware of the fact 
that eigbt\ per cent, of British film production workers 
were unemployed. We looked to you to remedy this. 
Now we merely feel that the initial date of the operation 
of tin' new Act April 1st was more appropriate than 
even the biggest cynics forboo'e. 

Perhaps one da\ \ou will visit Wardour Street. You 
w dl see many people there. The\ hoped you would help 
them once. Now thev are just waiting for the job which 
the inadequacies of the Government's legislation ensures 
will never arrive. Perhaps you will look into the A.CT. 
office. We hope you w ill. 'I he following are just a few 
extracts from many of the letters we could show vou. 

"Eighteen months ago I had a car and small boat — 
both sold at a great loss to pay to lire. Sold articles of 



RECENT ADVANCES IN ELECTRONICS 

[Continued from page 1141 

4. A receiving and projection system which 
provides a screen illumination only a quarter 
Or even less of what the average cinema re- 
quires and which uses equipment whose life 
and reliability have still to he proved. 

5. A complete sound pick-up and reproducing 
system which can provide anything in 
quality and range that is demanded of it. 

Thus we have in a completely electronic system in 
general, at the moment, and as far as the picture part 
is concerned, nothing to compare technically with what 
the present established system of cameras, negatives, 
prints and high illumination projectors provides. 
FUTURE RESEARCH WILL PROVIDE 
THE SOLUTION 

Remedies for all the above mentioned deficiencies 
are in their fundamentals envisaged not only by the re- 
search theorist but by the practical scientist. Much re- 
search has still to be done. It is reasonably safe to predict 
that all the processes of taking pictures and of distributing 
t hem to large audiences are likely to be revolutionised by 
the electronic method, which though now only in its early 
stages will undoubtedly in time provide, by less cumber- 
some methods, all the entertainment and education and 
interest required. 

It has often been suggested that television in the 
home will eventually have a devastating effect on the 
attendances of cinema audiences. Personally I don't 
think thai universal home viewing will have such an 
effect. The new opportunities in cinema entertainment 
presented by the advances of television technique appear 
to have gnat potentialities. Meanwhile it is our duty 
to be certain that all the members of our industry are 
accurately informed with regard to technical progress, so 
that when the time comes no opportunities are lost of 
taking full advantage of technical developments as and 
when they are perfected. 



furniture and effects for same reason. Landlord put 
bailiffs in and removed and sold whole of contents of 
my place. All pa-u nable articles of jewellery, belonging 
to my wife and myself, are pawned, together with one 
of niy cameras. 

Served four and a half years in the Great War (four 
medals). Invalided out with rank of Lieut .-Colonel . So 
pension. 

Am still waiting for a job." 

That technician has now got a job, Mr. Stanley. He 
is a temporary clerk at a Labour Exchange. 

Then we could show you a letter from a niembei 
who at one time was a sound recordist and maintenance 
engineer. He was one of the 80% and eventually took a 
job as a radio salesman working HO hours a week and 
earning, with commission, if lucky. C4 a week. Then he 
became ill through overwork. His next job was at 
£2 10s. Od. a week, during the course of which he received 
a call from a studio offering him two flays' work. He 
had to refuse it as he could not risk losing his £2 10s. Od. 
job outside the industry. 

\\ e could tell you of the film editor who used to earn 
620 a week. He is married and has a child. He became 
a bricklayer's labourer. 

An assistant director wrote us the other day. He had 
saved £250 over a period of years. That has now gone 
and he is considerably in debt. He has just landed a 
job and is back in the industry. He writes to tell us 
that he is the only member of his original unit who still 
has connection with the film business. "The director is 
abroad in some two-pence ha'penny job. the production 
manager is in a motor firm, the secretary is in a com- 
mercial office, and the two assistants are still out of 
work." He says he i< bitter and very pessimistic. Can 
you blame him ? 

A camera operative writes to say he has been more 
fortunate than most. He has averaged about thirty-five 
shillings a week during the past eighteen months. 

Some films are still being made, you may say. That 
provides work for somebody. The following letter may 
help you assess the value of it. It's from a leading 
technician at present at liberty lint who has done some 
work during the year. He says: "It would appear now 
that reputation and good work do not count nowadays but 
rather it is the price that really matters — as long as there 
is a man with the unit who can expose a film and make 
the print, the quality obtained does not apear to enter 
into it at all! 'How cheaply can we hire So-and-So?' 
would, I think', sum up the chances of a good still-man 
nowadays. What has the still-man done except do his 
best under lousy conditions (more often than not) to assist 
in the sale of the production to which he has been 'allowed' 
to attach himself at a much below recognised salary?" 

There is the old problem of the foreign technician. 
You will remember that our proposal to reduce the amount 
of foreign labour employed in film production was not 
accepted. To-day it is harder than ever for the top-grade 
British technicians to land a job. We will quote just two 
cases among many. The first — a lighting expert of good 
standing — has not worked since his studio closed down a 
year or so ago. He has a wife and children to support. 
Another has had one job and earned exactly €90 during 
the past twelve months. One of them writes: "The 
cameraman is hardest hit by the importation of foreigners. 
Many of the foreign cameramen over here are no better 

(Continued at foot of next page) 



Nov. -Dec, 11)38 



THE CINE- TECHNICIAN 



1 1 



CRICKLEWOOD, n.w.2 

The Valuable FREEHOLD PROPERTY 

STOLL STUDIOS 

Edfwcre Road, Temple Road and Laofton Ro»d, 

CRICKLEWOOD. N.W 2. 

EXTENSIVE RANGE OF BUILDINGS 

TOTAL FLOOR AKEA OP ABOUT 

Square 73,000 Feet 

-■lb Bp.„ aat OMlc.t. Or r .., B ( | MOL » ork.bof. tit. 

SALE BY AUCTION 



GODDARD & SMITH 



ON THE PREMISES 

On WEDNESDAY, 26th OCTOBER. 1938 



A 

STUDIO 
PASSES 

by — 

SIDNEY COLE 



O 



UT of the door came a ducal carriage complete with 
coat of arms, accompanied by a man who clutched 
in his arms an assorted heap of w ash basins, pipes, 
taps and toilet-roll holders. The auction sale of 
the contents of Stoll Studios at Cricklewood wrs over, and 
the buyers were beginning to take away their lots. The 
ducal carriage had once figured proudly, and the other 
objects less glamorously but no doubt just as usefully, 
in a chapter of the history of the British film industry 
which had now come to an end. At a moderate estimate 
the value of what was offered at that three-day sale was 
£200, 000. When the results of the three days - offering 
and bidding were totted up. it was agreed that Stolls were 
lucky if they had got more than £6,000 for the lot. 

The ducal carriage was knocked down at £12 LOs. 
The contents of the star dressing room answers the query 
"What price glamour'. 1 '' with fifty bob. A .Mitchell 
camera (cost when new £1,20(1) which had been sent back 
to Bell & Howell within the last two years for overhaul 
at a cost of £250, whose eleven lenses cost at least £150, 
and which, moreover, had been remounted recently at 
a cost of £180, whose six magazines are worth £2."> each, 
and whose tripod is valued at £75, went for 9350. The 
price is no reflection on the camera — it is merely another 
straw in the wind that has been blowing steadily against 
the British film industry for the last two years. The 
Stoll back projection apparatus w as the pride of Desmond 
Dickinson and the other Stoll technicians who invented 
and constructed it themselves. It gave some of the best 
back projection results this country has seen, besides 
evoking the admiration of visiting American executives. 
So that when it was knocked down at £250 the buyer 



THANK YOU, MR. STANLEY 

[Continued from previous page) 

than, if as good as, our own men. The original reason 
for foreign cameramen being allowed to work here was 
because producers said they could not make good pictures 
without them. Did thej make good pictures with them? 
I don't have to answer this question. The conditions of 
the industry answer it for you." 

It's good to be alive, isn't it? 

Yours, More in sorrow than in anger, 

THE ASSOCIATION OF CINE -TECHNCIANS . 




got— if I may be sentimental for a moment — not mere- 
ly a good piece of apparatus but something of the 
constructive endeavour and pride of craftsmanship that 
British technicians have shown in the past and are will- 
ing to show again whenever they get the chance. 

"Ninety-eight film tins" were offered without receiv- 
ing a bid— the bids could not have been less, it was re- 
marked, it there had been film in them. A developing 
and drying machine went for £2 10s., and a printing 
machine for 15/-. The cinematograph rights to a large 
number of stories by such authors as Phillips Oppenheim, 
Alfred Tennyson, P. (J. Wodehouse, Reginald Berkeley, 
Maurice Hew lett. Baroness Orezy, Keble Howard, Morley 
Roberts, Selwyn Jepson, Edgar Wallace and H. (). Well's 
luyers. Indeed no bids at all were made for 
in. except £1 for the rights of Wells's novel 
This was made 1>\ a gentleman who turned out 
mthor's son. biank Wells. 



lound no 
any of tl 

"Kipps." 

to be the 



jood prices, as did the 
ing everything specific- 



Tin- moviolas fetched fairh 
still cameras, but generally spea 

ally connected with Him making received low bids, and 
articles of general use. such as Tansad chairs and general 
fitments, did well. Several miles of cable and flex were 
sold for good prices, but not for future use in supplying 
light for a lew more British pictures. They went to scrap 
merchants because the copper the\ contain is valuable in 
these days of rearmament. 

In the last year or so there was a revival of interest 
in Stoll's, because of the modernisation of much of its 
plant. Five pictures were made there during the first six 
months ol 1938, apart from shorts. Things looked a little 
brighter despite the slump. But this was the last gasp. 
Negotiations lor the use of the building and site for air- 
craft work put a stop to production. 

Stolls had worked at the Cricklewood plant for 17 
y< ars. since 1921. They had known the heights of success- 
ful supers and the depths of non-production. But the 
history of the Stoll Company itself goes back earlier. 
About 1918 the American companies did not have their 
own distributing organisations in this country but mar- 
keted their product through English firms. Stolls started 
as the marketing medium for Samuel Goldwyn pictures, 
and did very well. They decided to try production for 
themselves. They hired the old London Film Co's. Twick- 



118 



THE 



CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Nov. -Dec, 19.'58 



enham studio, for Maurice Elvey to produce and direct 
"Comradeship," starring Owen Nares and Lily Elsie. This 
proved to be a great success. So much so that they took 
the Boat House studios at Kew Bridge the following year 
and Elvey produced "Mr. Wu" there, with Matheson 
hang. This studio had previously been used for the Billy 
Merson "Homeland" comedies, which were directed by 
VV. P. Kellino and photographed by D. 1'. Cooper. It is 
now a public house and dance-hall. 

.Meanwhile, Goldwyn in America had embarked on a 
series notable in the history of the cinema, called "The 
Eminent Author Series," the idea of which was to pre- 
sell films to exhibitors on the name value of their authors. 
It should be remembered that at that time in England 
as well as in America films were "block booked" and 
"blind booked" as much as a year ahead. 

It is alleged (those interested can verify by consulting 
the trade press of that period) that Goldwyn decided to 
get out of his contract with Stolls when launching 
a new "super" of his, outside the series, called "Earth- 
bound" (1 believe Walter Wanger was the salesman 
in charge of its exploitation and distribution). The con- 
tract stipulated that Stoll's had the sole marketing rights 
of Goldwyn pictures made in America and exported to 
this country. Circumventing this arrangement, the story 
goes, was done very simply by not exporting any pictures 
to Stolls at all. This, of course, left the English company 
in a jam. They had contracts with a vast number of 
English exhibitors for months ahead to supply them w ith 
Goldwyn pictures and they were getting no pictures. To 
meet thi' situation Sir Oswald Stoll called a meeting of 
exhibitors and announced that with their agreement he 
intended to start a rival series, for which he would make 
stories by such authors as Phillips Oppenheim and Ethel 
M. Dell, to be supplied to the theatres at the rate of 
one per fortnight in place of the (loldwyn pictures. The 
exhibitors agreed and production started. The Regent 
House at Surbiton, which had previously been the home 
• if M. Nicol, proprietor of the Cafe Royal, but was already 
a studio, was taken over, with Maurice Elvey as Director 
General of Productions. The film directors included Mar- 
tin Thornton. Harold Shaw (an American), Sinclair Hill, 
who started as a writer but soon turned to directing, and 
George Ridgewell, who gave £1,000 to set up the first 
Kinema Club. Ridgewell, like others, practically starved 
during the "black" years of 102.1 to 1027; he died a few 
years ago as a result of it, shortly after he had become con- 
tact man for Gaumont-Rritish News. The first year's 
working showed a handsome profit. The company in- 
tended to extend and improve the Regent House ball- 
room, which was the actual studio, but the local council, 
it is said, objected to the building of a "factory" in their 
select neighbourhood. Consequently the company moved 
to the building at Cricklewood. 

This had been built during the war as the Nieuport 
Aircraft Factory, and is the building that went under the 
hammer. A few years after this move the producing 
and distribution sides of Stoll's were merged. Distribu- 
tion for some time thereafter was in the hands of New Era. 

The first year's working at Cricklewood showed 
£10,000 profit. The decline which set in later was due, 
veterans tell me, to an attempt to make too many pictures 
too quickly, in the hope of even better results. But un- 
fortunately better pictures are rarely made in that way, 
and I believe it is true that the Stoll Company from that 

period on paid no more dividends. (Elvey was against 



this policy, and resigned, to spend the next few' years 
with Fox in Hollywood. His "Dick Turpin," "Sherlock 
Holmes" series, and .Matheson Lang pictures had all been 
successful money-makers). There were times when as 
many as six films were being turned at the same time. One 
unit would have to wait until the next had finished its 
scene in order to borrow the lamps lor its own, and fre- 
quently the sets of two productions would he built across 
each other. There wore periods, too. when Stolls stopped 
producing and rented out the studios to such firms and 
persons as Herbert Wilcox, British and Dominion, Welsh- 
Pearson-Elder and Miss Dinah Shurie. From 1022 or 
102H onwards, in fact, the studio had a checkered exis- 
tence whose high-lights were the production, among others 
famous in their day, of such pictures as "The (inns of 
Loos," directed h\ Sinclair Hill and starring Madeleine 
Carroll, "A Woman Redeemed," also by Sinclair Hill, 
with Brian Aherne starring, "The Glorious Adventure." 
the first big all-colour picture, directed by Stuart 
Blackton. and Anthony Asquith's first picture, "Shooting 
Stars." 

The last silent picture made at Stoll's was never 
shown. It was "The Price of Divorce" and starred 
Miriam Seegar, American star now married to director 
Tim Whelan. It was never shown because sound had 
by then hit the entertainment world and nearly everybody 
had to start thinking again in a hurry. The Stoll Studio 
was dormant for nine months, until the Marconi Visatone 
sound system was installed for them by Captain Round. 

Stoll's first sound picture was "Such is the Law." 
lor Butchers, directed by Sinclair Hill. It used up such 
scenes of the unseen silent. "The Price of Divorce." as 
could be fitted into a different cast but similar story. 

This period for me is modern times. My first job in 
a studio was at Stolls just after they had finished shooting 
this picture. There must be few technicians who entered 
the industry before the beginning of 1030 who did not have 
some contact with this studio that has gone. Their 
memories would be assorted but they would probably agree 
that the history of this studio is the history of much that 
was good and exciting in the postwar days of English 
film production. I would like to pay one tribute to its 
method of working in those days, when Sinclair Hill was 
director of productions. Before a picture went on the floor 
they had a script conference. This too often merely 
means four or five people agreeing as hard as they can 
with the producer. And nowadays having any script con- 
ferences at all seems to be an obsolete custom. All the 
more honour to the Stoll units of those days who had 
real script conferences. The complete script was read 
through by the scenario editor (Leslie Howard Gordon) 
to the entire unit. The technicians affected by any 
special scene could discuss its exact details with the direc- 
tor and with each other in advance, and everybody went 
on the floor knowing exactly what the picture was about 
(a rare occurrence today even in the most stream-lined 
and chromium-plated studios). 

But perhaps even more important, these conferences 
meant that the unit went on to the floor as a unit, as a 
team, with a sense of working together to produce as 
good a picture as they collectively could make. 

And that's a pretty good epitaph. 

(Xotc.—Thc author acknowledges gratefully the co-operation 
of various directors and technicians in writing the 
above article). 



Nov.-Dec, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



119 



THE PRIMATE AND THE 
CINEMA 

At Lambeth Palace recently, the Archbishop of Can- 
terbury. President of the Cinema Christian Council, re- 
ferred to the radio and the cinema as perhaps the two 
most modern powerful agencies for moulding the outlook 
and character of our people. He paid a tribute to the 

B. B.C. The cinema had obviously developed on other 
lines, and while much was due to the British Board of 
Film Censors and the British Film Institute, yet only a 
measure of control could be exercised. While the technique 
was perfect and no guidance could be given in that direc- 
tion, there still remained the task of raising the moral and 
by the immeasurable future it has before it. Keligious 
had a great opportunity. 

The Archbishop said: "The more I see of this tre- 
mendous art and its advance, the more impressed I am 
by the immeasurable future it has before it. Religious 
films, however, must be of the same sort of technical stan- 
dard as that of the commercial cinema. The work of the 

C. C.C. may have been inadequate, but it has proved that 
some such Council is necessary if only to show that the 
moral and spiritual forces of the country are not indifferent 
to the development of this new and important influence 
on public life. " 

The officers of the Council were re-elected as follows : 
President, the Archbishop of Canterbury ; Vice-Presidents, 
the Archbishop of York, the President of the National Free 
Church Council, the .Moderator of the Federal Council of 
the Evangelical Free Churches; Chairman, the Bishop of 
Lichfield; V ice-Chairman . Mr. J. A. Bank; Hon. 
Treasurer, the Rt. Hon. Sir Montague Barlow, Bt., P.C. ; 
and the Secretary, .Mr. T. H. Baxter, F.E.G.S. 

The Annual Report stated that the Viewing Panel, 
which had been set up in collaboration with the British 
Film Institute, had viewed 36 films during the year, and 
their reviews had been published in the Monthly Film 
Bulletin. The advice of the Panel had also been sought 
as to flie suitability of other films for religious purposes. 
At the request of the Archbishop of Canterbury an ad hoi' 
Committee had been formed to advise him on the subject 
of the production and use of films by the Church of 
England. 

The date of the next Religious Film Summer School 
was fixed for May 30th to June 2nd, 1939. It is to be 
held again at High Leigh, Hoddesdon. 



TOO HOT! 

(Continued from page 12S) 

There are certain home truths in the film. For hi- 
st ance, the writer of this article, who is not employed in 
newsreel production, believed the scenes in the Company 's 
office were exaggerated. He is, however, assured by 
workers in newsreel companies that the apparent madness 
which is depicted on the screen is no sense an exaggera- 
tion, and that at any rate certain newsreel executives have 
been known to act as Walter Conolly behaves in the 
picture — sometimes with very good cause. 

A further important point which is brought out by 
this film is that the "scoop" is more important than the 
actual picture, and a newsreel colleague with whom 1 
discussed the film tells me of a case when a cameraman 
in his firm reported to the Company that he was sorry 
he had completely missed the Royal Coach, which he 
had been sent out to get, but had got a picture of a police- 
man falling off his horse owing to the crush. As no other 
reel had got this picture his Company were quite satisfied. 

The publicity describes the film as a story of daring 
newsreel men who face death daily to bring the news of 
the world to the screen. We do not dispute this fact. 
We know it is all too true. But on the screen a story 
which at times gives a false slant on the work they do and 
typifies them as crooks is not one that will bring prestige 
to the newsreel business. 

We hope that one day Laurence Stallings and John 
Lei 1 Mahin w ill write the story of which we know they 
are capable, and that it will be filmed as a true story 
ol the hazardous work of newsreel cameramen. Moreover, 
as the Cinema says, it does not appear to have been 
altogether w ise to place so much emphasis upon the faking 
of shots by cameramen unable to supply their chief's 
demands. 



OBITUARY 

It is with very great regret that we have to report 
the sudden death on November 7th of OSCAR F. 
WERNDORFF, leading British Art Director and A.C.T. 
member. 

Mr. Werndorff was born in Vienna but had worked 
in the British Film Industry for some while and for the 
past tew years has been a naturalised British subject. He 
began film work in Vienna in 1913. From 1921 he was 
in Berlin with Ufa and other companies. He came to 
England in 1926, commencing work at Gainsborough 
Studios, subsequently going to Gaumont. He has recently 
been working at Denham. His pictures included "City 
of Song," "Hark Red Roses" and "The Bells" at Wemb- 
ley, in the days of the A.S.1M. company; and more re- 
cently "Secret Agent," "The Lady is Willing," 
"Rhodes," "The Tunnel" and "King of the Damned" tor 
( 1 aumont-British. 

We extend our deepest sympathy to bis widow. 



120 



T H E 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Nov. -I )(•<:.. L9S8 



SHOOTING IN HOLLAND 

by 

BRYAN LANGLEY, A.R.P.S. 



ON July 27tli I returned from shooting Dufaycolor 
exteriors in [reland. Upon arriving borne, I put 
out lots of 'phone calls. J found that the film 
business was more vague and the future more uncertain 
than ever. As a free-lance, however, I like to think, with 
Mr. Micawber, that "something will turn up." With 
this in mind the obvious course was to relax in an arm- 
chair. After half an hour or so of relaxing the telephone 
bell rang and the operator asked me to stand by for a call 
from Amsterdam. My thoughts were that someone had 
the dates mixed and believed it to be April 1st. However, 
after standing by, the bell rang, and a thin voice said 
"Hullo Bryan" — it was Fred Zelnik. Be told me that 
he was about to make a Dutch film of "Daddy Longlegs" 
and would J come over and shoot it. 

So on Tuesday night the boat train left Liverpool 
Street Station with me aboard — bound for Amsterdam. 

At the Hook of Holland my labour permit was ex- 
amined so long that 1 became very nervous and thought 
that there must be some irregularity in it. Eventually 
the customs man looked at me from behind a grille— a big 
lump came in my throat as the idea struck ine that per- 
haps it was me that was behind the grille. He said. "I 
wish you every success on the picture 'Daddy Longlegs'." 

Of course then I knew that it was him that was be- 
hind the bars. I was very pleased because the fact that 
he knew about the picture meant that lots of publicity 
must have been circulated and the picture must be an 
important one. After this, breakfast on the electric train 
to Amsterdam — brownfaced people speaking all kinds of 
languages — me eating bacon and eggs — honeymoon 
couples drinking cups of coffee and gazing at one another 
with adoring though sleepy eyes — in the corner a mar- 
vellous blonde (with an obvious "sugar daddy" — not an 
experienced one from his very selfconscious look). The 
steward spoke all sorts of languages and charged me a 
price for my breakfast which compared very favourably 
with those on English trains. 

In Amsterdam my good friend Mr. Zelnik and my 
two Dutch assistants, Frits and Prospair, were waiting, 
to take me to the house of Rudolph Meyer, the producer, 
who was very charming. 1 was introduced to his wife, 
and to his dog, Mousie, a Dutch film star like Asta. who 
was destined to cause me a lot of late nights at the stndio. 
Mr. Meyer gave me a big cigar and sent me off with Frits 
to rind accommodation. In the streets everyone was 
smoking cigars — Amsterdam, I thought, must be popu- 
lated by millionaires, so I lit mine to be in the swim. 
Later Frits told me that they cost 3d. each. 

Later I was shown the star's previous picture, a Dutch 
version of Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion." An excellent 
film with magnificent acting by the star— Lily Bouw- 
meester. Then we did some nosing around the stndio. 
There are two stages— in all about the size of Welwyn 
Studios. Two Super Parvo Debries with Astro lenses,' a 
Vinten run-truck, Vinten boom, Tobis Klangfilm sound, 
a lab. w ith a German automatic developing machine hav- 



ing glass tubes, in shape rather like the Debrie develop- 
ing plant at Elstree. A Debrie printer and Leitz sensito- 
metric apparatus. The only snag was the lamps. The 
incandescent s were by We inert, having facet mirrors only, 
five kilowatt, three kilowatt and two kilowatt. The arc 
equipment was also by Weinert — 1,000 mm.. 700 mm.. 
500 mm. They had one 500 watt spot lamp by Weinert, 
the only condenser lamp in the place. So we hired some 
spot lamps from the theatre — one 1,500 watt, one 500 
watt, and one 80 amp. They were not entirely satisfactory 
because of filament marks but this trouble was eliminated 
by the aid of a very ingenious device fitted to the front 
ot the lain]) to carry five different coloured gelatines for 
stage work. The gelatines were cut out and diffusing 
media substituted. You pulled a string and up out of a 
box popped a hammered glass, or a silk, or a gelatine, 
or a wire. This is a very good idea which could well 
be adopted here. 




Bryan Ldngley oti the camera at the Cinctone Studios, 
A msterdam. 



Then came the day for make-up tests. It was very 
worrying for me for the following reasons. First, the 
lamps. L'sing incandescent lamps having facet mirror 
reflectors was something that had never come my way. 
Second, the negative — they had bought Eastman Harrow 
Super X. I had never used this stock before. The tales 
about it that, go around alarmed me. and in spite of 
Mr. Wratten's assurance that it was good I still felt very 
nervous. During the shooting of the picture the quality, 
latitude, and consistency of this negative material kept 
on surprising me. In fact, we ran out of it one day and 
continued shooting on Rochester. It was impossible to 
tell the difference. Thirdly, and most important, the 
people themselves. They were all looking at me and 
expecting me to make magic. Everyone came to have 
a look. Well, we did these tests, and in the course of 
time we saw them. The hand tests looked all right. I 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



121 



measured the light with my W eston Foot Candle Meter 
so that the exposure was exactly the same as in England. 
But on the screen they were terrible, horribly dark. It 
was most embarrassing. One of those situations of which 
Bateman makes such amusing cartoons. I said nothing 
— "least said soonest mended." Neither did anyone else. 
There were so many possibilities. My meter might be 
broken — the Astro lens at f2.3 may be slower than indi- 
cated — the shutter on the camera might be closed a little — 
the light from these facet mirror lamps was definitely 
yellowish — the negative might not be dense enough for 
their printer — the projection light might be weak. We had 
been on exteriors all day, so I had not seen the lab. man 
and had heard nothing about the negative. As we were 
trooping out of the theatre, me very downcast, I noticed 
the screen. It was deep yellow from dust. Feeling 
rather like Archimedes must have done when he said 
"Eureka,"' or Columbus when he discovered America. I 
asked for the screen to be changed, and all was O.K. Now 
they talked, and made me Witch Doctor No. 1. 

Having got over this very stiff hurdle, we started to 
light the set. This was a very beautiful decoration, the 
interior of an "Orphan House" with a real marble floor 
which sounded very good and picked up the light in a 
fascinating manner. The art director, a Dutch architect 
called Wegerif. one of those men who have caused Holland 
to be called the " Mecca of modern architects," paid 
especial attention to the floors. We had marble floors, 
floors of tiles, floors of enormous geometric design, and 
wooden floors. In most of the Dutch paintings which I 
have seen, the floor plays a very prominent part in the 
design of the whole picture — subconsciously it may be 
dm' to the fact tbat the floor is the foundation of all 



visible parts and therefore must be the boldest and 
strongest. 

Their lamps gave me a lot of trouble. Black centres 
and leak light. Black centres I can deal with, but tliis 
leak light problem stumped me. The lichtmeester (charge 
hand) recommended the use of arfdrrkers. These are 
wooden squares which clip on the lamps and can be ad- 
justed to a very fine degree — they are more efficient than 
the iron snoots which are used here. 

The working of the unit is not as in England. In 
the office was the producer, Rudolph Meyer, and two 
assistants. They did whatever they do in offices, and be- 
cause everything w as ready and w ent like clockwork they 
must have been very good. All the production details 
came from the offices, which also organised the standing- 
by of artistes. On the floor was the director. Mr. Zelnik; 
the script girl, Fran Klein ; the dialogue lady and general 
interpreter, Mevrouw Peters; myself; camera operator 
Frits; locus Prospair ; clappers Butter; still-man Hobby 
Kosenboom ; the sound crew, electricians under lichtmeester 
Killymeyer, and two carpenters, Hank and Art. We had 
no assistant directors on the floor and no props. Hank 
and Art acted as grips — moved things, laid tracks — pushed 
the runtruck and were generally useful. When essential 
props were needed or there was a rush the property master 
appeared and gave a hand. When Mr. Zelnik wanted 
quiet he shouted in German "Ruke Bitte," I said "Quiet 
please," and Hank bellowed "Stilte." Critroen, the sound 
mixer, sounded a diabolical klaxon horn and flashed red 
lamps. The result was that everyone was as though 
petrified, and stayed so until the klaxon brayed twice. 
Everyone obeyed the klaxon implicitly. 



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122 



T H K C I N E - T K CIIMCIAN 



Nov.-Dec., 1936 



The team work in Holland is terrific-. A picture sells 
strictly on merit. There are no quotas and no immense 
organisations for distribution. Consequently it. is a very 
personal matter to everyone, from the office-boy to the 
producer, that the picture shall be a success. This atti- 
tude is shown by a remark made to me by a "spark": 
"Lousy picture, no work; good picture, more work." 

The production car picked me up at 7.45 a.m. and 
we started work at 8 a.m. This eight o'clock business 
horrified me at first, but I soon got used to it. Another, 
to me, amazing thing was the lunch-hour break of one 
hour. It might happen at any time. The reason for this 
disregard of my almost religious belief that one o'clock 
is the proper time for lunch seems to be that lunch is an 
unimportant meal there. One eats rissoles, eels, bread 
and butter, all simple things, much the same as we have 
for supper. But at dinner, they make up for lost time 
and eat and drink enough to sink a battleship. 

My Sundays were very pleasant days, spent with my 
friend Bobby Bosenboom, our still-man, on loan from the 
famous old-established Dutch firm of photographers, 
Merkefbach. (They took stills of Mata Eari during the 
war). Two Sundays running we went to the museum and 
admired the works of Rembrandt and Van Hooch. The 
importance- of composition was very greatly impressed 
on me by these masters. What wonderful colour camera- 
men they would have made. The Editor of "The Amateur 
Photographer" would have a fine time dissecting these 
pictures and resolving them into curves and circles and 
points of interest. On other Sundays we explored the 
enormous Zuyder Zee (South Sea) by boat and by car. 
It has been separated from the North Sea by a dam, and 
is becoming a fresh water lake. All the sea fish trapped 
in it by the dam are dying. The Dutch are damming 
to reclaim land, and ultimately all the Zuyder Zee will 
be reclaimed with, of course, channels for irrigation. 

News has just come that tho picture is a tremendous 
success and packing the cinemas. I am very glad. They 
deserve every success. I am very grateful to have had 
the opportunity of working there — of enlarging my ex- 
perience and my circle of friends. 

TOT ZIENS (See you soon). 

* * * 



RUSKIN COLLEGE 

The Trades Union Congress General Council have 
approved of an appeal being made on behalf of students 
at Buskin College to the various Trade Unions in the 
country. This year there are 18 students, all wage 
earners from a variety of occupations, who hold scholar- 
ships which require supplementing before they can make 
use of their awards. Donations are being asked for this 
object. 

To Buskin College go wage-earning students, many 
of them with assistance from Trade Unions, Co-operatives 
and similar bodies. The list of activities of former stu- 
dents makes imposing reading, including 18 past or present 
M. P's., 22 trade union officers, many distinguished educa- 
tionists, and more local government representatives than 
they have space to mention. A fine record indeed, and 
an institution well deserving any help that can be given. 



A.C.T. Winter Programme 

The usual winter programme of Lectures and Film 
Shows has been arranged by the A.C.T. Technical Com- 
mittee. As previously, all meetings, unless otherwise 
stated bekna will be on Thursday evenings at the Crown 
Theatre. 86, Wardour Street, W.I., by kind invitation ot 
Mr. V. (lover. They will commence at 9 p.m. 

Technician and one guest will be admitted on pro- 
duction of ACT. membership card. 

A printed syllabus has been issued and copies have 
been sent to all members. No further intimation of meet- 
ings will be given. Members are therefore asked to keep 
the card and note the dates. 

As usual, reports of all Lectures will be published in 
The < 'iiic-Ter/t/i in tin . 

The programme is as follows : — 

1 ggg 

Oct. 29th (Saturday) 

"The Technique of Sound Recording" by T. S. 
LYNDON-HAYNES, A.R.P.S., to the Federation of 
Cinematograph Societies, at the R.P.S., 35, Bussell 
Square, W.C.I. 2.15 p.m. 

November 3rd 

"Recent Documentaries," bv arrangement with the 
G.P.O. Film Unit, Strand Films, etc. 

November 17th 
"Sub-Standard Processing," bv A. W. BOWLER, 
A.R.P.S. 

November 25th (Friday) 

"Building a Star," by The Hon. ANTHONY 
ASQUITH and members of the "Pygmalion" unit, 
at the Royal Photographic Society, 35 Russell Square, 
W.C.I.. at 7.45 p.m. 

December 1st 

"Early Films," by arrangement with the British 
Film Institute. 

December 15th 

"Trade Union History and Practice." by G. WOOD- 
COCK, B.Sc. (Research Officer, Trades Union Con- 
gress). 

1939 

January 12th 

Colour Films. 
January 26th 

"Some Aspects of Sound Becording," by A. S. 
ATTKINS. Chief Sound Engineer, Associated British 
Studios. 
February 9th 

Debate: "A Good Script is More Important than 
Good Direction." A member of the Screenwriters' 
Association and SINCLAIB HILL, O.B.E. (British 
Association of Film Directors). 

February 23rd 

"A Study in Direction" (including extracts from his 
films), by the Hon. ANTHONY ASQUITH, A.C.T. 
President). 

March 9th 

"Optical Printing" (lecturer to be announced later). 
March 23rd 

"Television Outside Broadcasts." by P. H. DOBTE 
(by courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation). 
April 6th 

"Film Production for Trade Union Propaganda," by 
J. BEEVES, Secretary. Workers' Film Association. 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



123 



SHAKESPEARE, SHAW and the SCREEN 



I REMEMBER once talking to Rene Clair about film- 
ing Shakespeare and lie told me that he was convinced 
that the only way Shakespeare could be brought to 
the screen was by the medium of silent films. This sounds 
a paradox but I think there is a great deal of truth in it. 
It is nearly impossible to translate the poetry of Shakes- 
peare into another language. But it is jx>ssible within 
limits to translate it into another medium and to my mind 
the best "translation" of any passage in Shakespeare is 
the orchestral introduction of the 4th act of Verdi's 
OTELLO which is the perfect equivalent of the scene 
in the play, it crystallizes, as it were, the overtones of 
the poetry into music. Now I believe it would be possible 
for a film director of genius to devise a flow of images 
which would bear to Shakespeare's verse the same kind 
of relationship as Verdi's music. The structure of 
Shakespeare's plays is admirably adapted to screen pur- 
poses, it is on the dialogue that the poor sap falls down. 
As soon as Shakespeare's dialogue is spoken from the 
screen, one realises that it imperatively demands the 
stage. For example, when Romeo on hearing of -Juliet's 
death, says "Then I defy you, stars," that is in effect a 
close-up. The words have in themselves sufficient 
intensity to bring the audience in imagination face to face 
with Romeo. In a talking film, all the director can do 
is to take a close-up of Romeo saying them. This only 
underlines the effect without enhancing it. It is mere 
tautology. Rut in a silent version I can believe that a 
man of genius could imagine a visual equivalent to 
Romeo's cry of agony — and I do not mean a Long shot of 
the stars followed by a close-up of Homeo defying them. 

Now the problem of filming stage prose is quite 
different. It is as unnecessary as it would be impertinent 
to say that Mr. Shaw is the greatest living master of stage 
prose, but, at least in a play like PYGMALION, his mean- 
ing does not come to us surrounded by an aura of poetry 




C. /.'. Shaiv 



by 




(Portrait by Dorothy Wilding) 

ANTHONY ASQUITH 

which could be translated into the purely visual terms of 
the silent film, it comes to us sharp, cool and shining 
as a needle. Only words — and Mr. Shaw's own words — 
can convey it. Therefore in transferring a play like 
PYGMALION to the screen it is essential that the words 
should not be interfered with, and the problem for Mr. 
Pascal's team (on the technical side almost entirely 
A..C.T.) was bow to provide a visual accompaniment to 
the dialogue which would give it its fullest effect. It was 
essential that the movements of the actors and the camera, 
and the cuts from one shot to another, should all co- 
operate with the flow of dialogue. I am not now talking 
of the quality of the acting itself — with such a cast it 
could he taken lor granted — but of the planning of the 
scenes in relation to the camera in such a way that the 
rhythm of the picture should give just emphasis to the 
rhythm <if the speech. Where there is a flood of dialogue, 
obviously perpetual cuts backwards and forwards from 
one speaker to another would be intolerably jerky. 
Equally, the photography of a complete stage scene with 
all the persons included (what a friend of mine has called 
a "tight five-shot") would be flat and unemphatic. We — 



124 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Nov.-Dec., 1988 



and by "we" I mean the; co-operative not the royal "we" 
we tried in many eases to plan the scenes so that, with- 
out actual cuts, they bad the effect of L.S., M.S., (M - ., 
etc. — that is to say, a scene might start as a L.S. with 
several actors, and end as a single-head C.U. or vice versa, 
the distance of the artists from the camera at any given 
moment being determined In the emphasis winch their 
lines required. 

There are, as I need hardly say, two lands of visual 

rhythm in tilius, the rhythm of the movement of people 
or objects within the limits of a single shot, and the 
rhythmical relation of shot to shot. We tried to use 
both these types. For example, when lliggins decides 
to take on the bet to turn the flower-girl into a duchess, 
he strides ahout the room dynamically and the camera 

follows his movements with the minimum of cuts. 
Directly the matter is settled to his satisfaction he sits 
down and there follows a brisk argument between him and 
liis housekeeper, with the girl and Pickering intervening. 
Here we used the other kind of movement -quick staccato 
inter-cutting of individual ClVs. with the occasional 
added emphasis of people moving or turning into shot. I 
do not pretend that this was all worked out in theory 
beforehand. It was, of course, the result of ferial and 
error and most scenes were covered in a number of ways, 
but we always had in mind the point that the dialogue 
must not he interfered with by any visual effect, however 
ingenious, and that at the same time the eye should not 
be merely a sleeping partner to the ear. 1 am quite 
aware that there is nothing new in all this hut first hand 
experience is I hope of some interest even if it only con- 
firms what has been known before. 

I hope it will not be considered out of place if 1 end 
by paying tribute — and I know it is a tribute in which 
Mr. Pascal and Mr. Leslie Howard would heartily join- 
to the technicians who worked on Pygmalion. There was 
not one who did not contribute something vital, and if 
the film has any merits these merits are entirely due to 
the work of the unit as a whole. 

* * * 

A.C.T. LIBRARY 

The following publications are amongst the recent 
additions to the A.C.T. Library and may be borrowed by 
members : — 

"My Wife's the Least Of It" (William Gerhardi) 
"A Practical Guide to Amateur Photography" (Marcel 
Natkin). 

"We Make the Movies" (Edited by Nancy Naumberg). 
"A Guide to Employment for Hoys and Girls in Greater 

London" (Board of Education). 
"Minitography and Cinetography " (City Sale and 

Exchange). 

"Darkness in the Land" (Robert Stevenson). 
"June in Skye" (Elizabeth Coxhead). 
"I Should Have Stayed Home" (Horace McCoy). 
"Films in the Making" (Robb Lawson). 
"Trades Union Congress Report, 1038" (Trades Union 
Congress). 

"Motion Picture Sound Recording" (Academy of Motion 

Picture Arts and Sciences). 
"Academy Players Directory, 1938" (Academy of Motion 

Picture Arts and Sciences). 
"The Captain's Chair" (Robert Flaherty). 
"Charles Laugh ton And I" (Elsa Lanchester). 
"Optical Aids" ( Board of Education). 

[Continued at foot of next column) 



ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY'S EIGHTY- 
THIRD ANNUAL EXHIBITION 

The Royal Photographic Society's Eighty-third 

Annual Exhibition was, as usual, admirably arranged and 
well worth several visits. This exhibition, which should 
not lie confused with the Exhibition of [Cinematography, 
is the last to he held at the present premises, as by this 
time next year the Society will have moved to Kensington. 

On the ground floor, the Library was given over to 

Messrs. Kodak's, who had installed a projection theatre 
lor the showing of 16 mm. colour films and amongst other 
exhibits showed a device, the Argus Microfilm Reader, for 
the projection of .'5."> mm. film on to a ground glass screen 
which might well have studio applications. The Council 
Room was given over to Pictorial and Colour prints; the 
Studio to Colour Transparencies and Lantern Slides, and 
the second floor to Nature Studies, Stereoscopics and 
Scientific Prints. 

The trade was well represented and included, 
amongst others, exhibits and displays by Messrs. Agfa, 
Zeiss, Kodak, II ford, (levaert. Ensign. Metropolitan- 
Vickers, Dufay-Chromex, boss and Leitz. It was. how- 
ever, disappointing to note the shyness of studio still 
cameramen, who were conspicuous by their absence. It 
seems very odd. to say the least, that at the annual 
exhibition of the foremost photographic society of the 
world, studio photographers do not appear to consider it 
worth while to exhibit their prints. 

One of the most interesting features of the show was 
the photography of smell, which was explained in the 
catalogue as follows : — 

"The emission of an odour involves volatilisation 
of material. If an odoriferous material is enclosed 
in a cell a few millimetres above a clear mercury 
surface, it is possible to collect on the surface of the 
mercury a inonomolecular layer of the volatilising or 
odoriferous substance. If the mercury surface 
initially is covered with talc powder, the gradual 
formation of the monomolecules layer may be observ- 
ed as the talc is gradually pushed away from the 
point immediately below the specimen of material. 
The photographs illustrate observations of this sort 
on the emanations from camphor and the lily. From 
observations of the layers formed, the actual weight 
of collected emanation may be calculated." 
Other scientific applications were most diverse in 
character, and illustrated the increased use of photography 
in industry and the sciences. 

Altogether the Exhibition and its associated lectures 
were most successful, and those concerned are to be 
congratulated on maintaining the high standard of 
previous years. T. S. LYNDON-HAYNES. 



A.C.T. LIBRARY 

(Continued from preceding column] 

The following additions to the Reading Room have 
been received and may be read in the office : — 
American (Daily) 

"The Hollywood Reporter." 
French (Monthly) 

"Le Travailleur Du Film." 
Indian (Monthly) 

"Moving Picture Monthly." 

"The Motion Picture Magazine." 
German (Bi-Monthly) 

"Filmtechnik. ' ' 



Xov.-Dec, 1938 



T H E 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



125 




the Kinematograph Industry's specialist 
suppliers of Studio and Laboratory 
Apparatus 



ANNOUNCE THEIR REMOVAL TO 
MORE SPACIOUS SHOWROOMS, 
OFFICES AND WORKSHOPS, AT 



121 WARDOUR STREET 
LONDON, W.1. 



Telephone: Gerrard 6711-2 



Cables : Katja, London 



12G THE CINE-TECHNICIAN Nov.-Dec., L088 



FROM SLIDE TO SCREEN 



"March of the Movies," "Flashbacks" and the programme ft 
Section of the British Film Institute, all recently shown in 
give a history of cinematography. We present the comments 
representatives who saw them. 

INTERESTING AS CURIOSITIES 

M AllCIl of the Movies" and "Flashbacks" are 
both mistitled. The former is a march mainly 
of publicity stills, and a somewhat alcoholic 
march at that, going backwards and forwards, hither and 
von, without much regard to time and place. In the 
latter C. B. Cochran had a very queer idea of how long 
a "Hash" may be, and added to his sins by stopping short 
just where film technique as sued) was beginning to be 
interesting. 

In effect " Flashbacks, " which is silent, calls for less 
criticism than its partner in that you cannot accuse a 
thing of failing where it does not try to succeed. It is 
simply a collection of bits of old films, and even some 
complete old single-reelers strung together to induce a 
vein of pleasant reminiscence and remind us of the type 
of drama that thrilled us or the comedy that made us 
laugh twenty or thirty years ago. If we were thrilled or 
if we laughed we must have been very easily pleased 
indeed; though T cannot help reflecting on the attitude 
of a youngster of eleven or twelve who sat next to me 
during the show and was in paroxysms of laughter during 
the running of an early Charlie Chaplin. Obviously his 
reaction w as one of primary amusement inspired directly 
by the film, and not, as was ours, a secondary reaction in 
which we laughed at ourselves for having laughed twenty 
years ago as that boy did to-day. 

What was interesting in the technical sense was to 
see the conscious growth of the film as a separate form 
of story-telling, and I greatly regret that the show stopped 
when the individuality of film technique was just over- 
coming the handicap of being considered a crude novelty. 
I think it would improve enormously and be something 
more than a few torn and unrelated pages of film history 
if the. compilers had brought the story on another ten 
years to the end of the silent era, when photography, cut- 
ting as a real visual art, and the type of acting that was 
done mainly by facial expression were at their zenith. 
It would have given a more balanced perspective to what, 
as it stands, tends to be a bit boring at times, and where, 
owing to the extreme length of the dashes, a Mary Pick- 
ford film of VJl'i), say, is forced to be entertaining on its 
own because we cannot rely lor nearly two hours on 
entertainment derived purely from reminiscence. 

".March of the .Movies" gets the harder kick because 
it tried and did fail. first of all. it had one of those 
American-style facetious commentaries which was 
extremely irritating and most scandalously used at times 
(as, for example, over the excerpts from Dante's Inferno) 
when silence would have been more than welcome. It 
would have been a blessed relief. 



om the Preservation 
London, claim to 
of three of our 




Frame from "March of the Movies." Note "A.C.T. Journal" 
in bottom left-hand comer. 

In that it carries the story on to 1938 I should look 
to a film of this sort to be in itself an example of all the 

excellencies of modem technical development, instead of 
which it appeared to h ive been put together by someone 
who stopped learning at the same; point as Cochran's 
silent flashbacks stopped. Dissolves and wipes were non- 
existent, as far as I remember, and fades were just 
stupid. Continuity shots of strips of blank film and a 
swinging pendulum kept coming and going without any 
other reason than that the producer needed something to 
fill up the action while the commentator went on with 
his silly speech. Direct sound shots were not even in 
sync. The time continuity was also extremely faulty and 
the order of scenes seldom took a simple straight line 
from event to event. 

My greatest sense of irritation with this film came 
in the last reel when, after a description of the passing 
of the 1927 Films Act and fulsome eulogies of the fore- 
sight of John Maxwell it proceeded to state that owing 
to the question of copyright "we cannot show you any- 
thing from any of the great American films of that period." 
Well, if the} - can't, why refer to it '.' 1 should have been 
happy, indeed more than happy, to find a British film 
being shown to the British public in which the producer 
stated that he had some little admiration for the many 
British film technicians who had made his own effort 
possible. It only adds to the inferiority complex of the 
native product for a producer to apologise from the screen 
itself that he cannot show you anything but British films. 

Come to think of it, this film, which was mainly 
drawn from B.I. P. sources and mostly the "Royal 
Cavalcade" at that, was so poorly done that it didn't 
make even B.I. P. look too hot. Why take as an excerpt 
from "Blackmail" a bit that only mentions the word of 
the title when everyone remembers the film for its justly 
renowned "knife" sequence? Why not show us some- 
thing of Kanturek's lovely photography in "Blossom 
Time." Friese-Greene's exteriors on "Bill the Conqueror." 
Jarvis's well-timed cutting on "Black Limelight," or the 
multiple track recording of "Invitation to the Waltz?" 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 THE CINE- T 

They have plenty to be proud of and nothing to justify 
the producer making public apologies. And that's only 
one studio. Denham, Pinevvood, Gainsborough, Nettle- 
fold, Sound City — they all have their quota of good 
things to add. Put no, we must make some remark about 
America or the salesman won't be able to get it over to 
the exhibitor. 

Taking them by and large there was a certain 
antiquarian interest in both films. It is flattering to one- 
self as a technician to watch the growth of our "art" and 
industry, to see the soot-and-whitewash develop into the 
gracefully graded lighting of to-day, to see the camera 
become more flexible, acting less mannered, cutting more 
fluent and better-timed, and direction less stagey. (What 
they don't reveal is the doubt that must lurk in the 
average man's mind as to whether the stories themselves 
have become more intelligent). As curiosities they are 
interesting, but as films themselves how much better they 
might have been. J.N.B. 
LOP-SIDED SCREEN HISTORY 

ONE would think after seeing ".March of the .Movies" 
and "Flashbacks" that the film industry had 
dispensed with technicians after Friese-Greene, 
Paid and Melies. These films are like most history books 
— concerned with the kings and queens but largely un- 
aware of the existence of tl leir subjects. March oi the 
Movies" shows us John Maxwell's photograph — all very 
nice — but nothing of the large army of people who make 
his company's twenty-per-eent dividends possible. We 
are told of the first quota act (although the producer trips 
up when he tries to kid us that his House of Commons 
scene concerns quota legislation when we actually saw 




C. />. Cochran 



ECHNICIAN 127 




The arrest of Miss Sylvia Pankhurst, from a Pathe Newsreel 

of 1913. [By courtesy of the British Film Institute) 
the same scene in "Royal Cavalcade" representing Sir 
Edward Grey's speech at the outbreak of war) but the 
second Act is never mentioned. We are told of the 
growth of the film industry through quota, but not of the 
lack of production, slump, unemployment and hardships 
immediately prior to and since the second Act. A few 
shots of two thousand film workers mrss-lobbying at the 
House of Commons early this year would have given a far 
better perspective of the industry. 

My criticism of these shows concerns more their sub- 
titles than their contents. "March of the Movies" and 
"flashbacks" were interestingv within the limits of my 
colleague's criticisms. Put they were certainly not "A 
Screen Outline of Film History" nor "The Evolution of 
the Movies." When a new building is erected credit is 
at least given to the architect and by most concerns to 
the builders as well. In these cases we stop at the men 
who cut the first sods. My criticism is that the other 
spade workers should have been mentioned as well. 
Here's hoping lor a proper screen history which rightly 
commences by recording that Friesne-Greene died in 
poverty — but continues to tell a little of his successors 
who are to-daj living in poverty; who are unemployed 
because of the si mrt -siglitedness of the Government's 
legislation and the incompetence of producers who have 
lust so many millions that they can't get any more; per- 
sons whose technical skill is rotting away through idleness 
but when given the opportunity produce first-class films; 
persons who are made the pawns of British-American 
trade ; in other words films of the people who make films. 
That would be film history, and it would not be quite so 
"fascinating, satisfying or amusing" as claimed for one 
of the two current releases. G.H.E. 
B.F.I. PROGRAMME SCORES 

A PERHAPS more academic but certainly far more 
complete programme illustrating the history of 
films was given by the British Film Institute on 
Sunday, Kith October, all the extracts coming from their 
Preservation Section. Particularly well done was the 
studj of the early development of the genius of Chaplin, 
by extracts from ten of his films, ranging from the Essanay 
one-reelers to the later two-reelers such as "The Tramp." 
(Continued on fipge 129) 



128 



THE C I N E-TEC H N IC I A N 



Nov.-Dec. L9£ 



TOO HOT! 

A Criticism of the new 
M.G.M. film 



Too Hot to Handle" 



T 



HIS film n!' American newsreel 
men featuring Clark Gable and 
Myrna Loy might bave been a 
aewsreel epic. The press critics have 
described the film as one you should 
leave your brains at home before see- 
ing and as a film w ith an unconvincing 
plot with expert treatment. I say it's 
first-class entertainment, full of action, 
sizzling with thrills, and not so fantas- 
tic as may appear on first sight to the 
cine-technician. 

The screen play is b\ Laurence 
Stallings, Editor of Fox Movietone ws, 
and John Lee Mahin. This film may 
lead the public to believe that news- 
reel cameramen spend their time 
pinching other people's film and 
fighting rivals for the heart of 
some blonde or brunette dam- 
sel. Those who were engaged for 
a number of years in the British 
newsreel war know that it was for their Company^ 
prestige that they engaged in some of the baser tricks. The 
Grand Nationals, the Cup Finals (where at Stamford 
Bridge the first balloon barrage was used), the Test 
Matches, where the air-gun marksmen removed the bal- 
loons by deflating them, and other exclusive assignments 
where the battles between pirates and exclusive right- 
holders took place, were even more thrilling than scenes 
shown in this American film. One day creeping into some 
well protected enclosure in disguise, the next watching 
and protecting his firm's interests in the attempted 
holding of exclusive rights, was the newsreeler's everyday 
vocation. Pirating for his reel necessitated the camera- 
man being both quick and hefty, and the fight for the 
tower at Aintree would make a film as thrilling as any- 
thing in "Too Hot to Handle," with the bursting fire- 
works, the tottering 80-foot high steel tower, and the 
gang fight beneath. Anyhow, as the exchange of lavender 
prints is the order of today I'm afraid newsreel competi- 
tions have ceased. 

The China War sequences in this film will recall many 
a fruitles3 wait when newsreel units have at last packed 
up and at the last moment somebody lias shot out with 
an Eyerno and procured the picture. And how many 
times has the lid of an Eyemo or Devry fallen off and 
ruined on important picture scramble? 




Inaccuracies there are in this film, as when Clark 
Gable climbs out on the wing of his monoplane to take a 
picture of the pilot of his plane, although this has been 
done on a biplane where people can hang on to the cross 
struts. Anyhow, the back projection shots in this section 
of the film, where the cameraman is filming the burning 
munition ship, are excellent, although to have flown as 
near to the ship as shown would have courted disaster by 
the aeroplane being blown to pieces. 

W hen the hero and his lady friend are commentating 
they are shown with their backs to the screen, but this 
would be possible if they used a mirror above the micro- 
phone to reflect the shown image, which I believe is done 
in some newsreel recording theatres. The Eyemo used by 
Clark Cable only has a *2-inch lens, compared with the 
batteries of lenses used by the more up-to-date newsreels. 
In the jungle scene, in which M.G.M. appear to get 
Amazon Indians rather mixed up with African natives, 
and to which the cameraman and his sound engineer have 
travelled by small canoe, our hero at night puts on a 
lull film show with sound to scare the natives. He is using 
a portable 35 mm. projector. Of course electric current 
would be the snag here, although it would be possible 
to put on such a show using a small bicycle jiropelled 
generator for the current. 

(Continued on page 119) 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 



T H E 



CINE- T ECHXICIA N 



129 



FROM SLIDE TO SOUND 

(Continued from page 127) 

But where this programme really scored over both 
"Flashbacks" and "March of the Movies" was in its 
atempt to give an idea of the post-war development of the 
film up to and including the coming of sound. All the 
films shown for this period were British and although it 
might he argued that a really exhaustive survey would 
necessarily have to include American examples, it is a 
gratification to the present British technician to see how 
well English examples do present the history of that 
period. 

The films in this section were : — the first reel of 
"Kipps," a 1920 Stoll version of the Wells story, in which 
George K. Arthur had his first big part ; the first reel of 



"The Man Without Desire"' made by Adrian Brunei for 
Gainsborough in 1922 and the first British film to achieve 
a run at the Tivoli, then London's premier cinema; the 
first reel of "A Cottage on Dartmoor," the work of our 
President. Anthony Asquith, and distinguished by its 
pictorial sense and ability to use long shots dramatically; 
the first reel of "The Lodger," a 1929 Hitchcock produc- 
tion, a little long-winded to our modern eyes in its building 
of suspense; and finally the first reel and the "knife" 
episode of "Blackmail" the first British talking film, 
made by Alfred Hitchcock. 

In the A.C.T. w inter programme there will be given 
a similar programme, by courtesy of the Film Institute, 
which should attract a really good audience of technicians 
anxious to see traced the history of the craft which the 
older of them helped to build. 

S.H.C. 



SOMETHING TO SHOUT ABOUT 
IT'S 




0^ 



ENORMOUS 

15,000,000 FEET OF 

STOCK SHOTS 




TO 




1896 



1938 



ALL SUBJECTS AVAILABLE 







SPORT 



TRAVEL— SCENICS 



INDUSTRIAL 



EVENTS 




Ger. 



6413 
7481 



WRM* I—1IMARY 8688 WARDOUR STREET, 
ILM - W<1> 



130 



T H E C INE - TECHNIC] A N 



Nov.-Dec, 1988 



Cinema Log 

by KENNETH GORDON 



"The Drum" Causes Small War in India 

On its release at two cinemas in Bombay, "The 
Drum," London Film epic featuring Sabu, lias caused 83 
persons to be arrested during the peaceful picketing of 
The Excelsior and New Empire theatres when Indian 
protests wen' made. According to "filmindia," the 
Commissioner of Police, the deputy Commissioner, two 

Inspectors, six sub-Inspectors, twelve British sergeants 
and three hundred constables armed with lathies wi re 
needed to protect the patrons! This seems better than 
any publicity stunt a Leicester Square premiere has ever 
seen. 

"The Drum" rah fourteen days with seventy show- 
ings and thousands saw the film. Many protests have 
been made to the Indian National Congress for a complete 
ban on its exhibition in India, and as we go to press news 
reaches us that the Government of .Madras have banned 
the picture. 

Stating that Korda has libelled India, and that "The 
Drum" is a mischievous picture, "rilmindia" has raised 
a storm of protests, leading to processions and huge meet- 
ings of all the communities in Bombay. 

In the midst of these troubles the arrival in India of 
Mr. John Corfield, the Managing Director of British 
National Films, receives very pleasing comment in the 
Indian papers. This production company are about to 
produce in India a picture called "Daughter of India" 
and Mr. John Corfield is at present reconnoitring Indian 
locations for the unit that will arrive early in January. 
The industry in Bombay declares it is prepared to extend 
its sympathy and co-operation to the British unit on its 
arrival, but gives a warning that native susceptibilities 
must be considered in all pictures that are made there. 

An All-round 16 mm. Sound Recorder 

A 1(3 mm. direct sound on film recorder has been 
introduced by Electrical Research products in collabora- 
tion with the Bell Telephone Laboratories. 

Optical reduction printing methods frequently result 
in a marked loss in sound quality, and this new recorder 
will be a great boom to these engaged exclusively in the 
16 mm. field. 

This recorder has two applications, direct recordings 
made independently, or by electrically interlocking the 
machine with a 35 mm. recorder both sizes of negative 
sound track may be made. It can also be used to re- 
record from existing 35 mm. He-recording can be made 
directly from a positive print or from a negative sound 
track by the use of the negative play back. The apparatus 
permits the immediate reproduction of neg. variable 
density sound tracks and offers all the oral advantages that 
would be given by a device capable of permitting one to 
view a photograhic negative as a finished positive, if such 
a device were available. 

Flutter is held to a negligible value in film recorded 
by this machine. Mechanical stabilization is obtained bv 
locking the film-driven scanning drum to an oil-damped 
flywheel through a common shaft. The flywheel assembly 



operates on the Rowland principle and consists of a light, 
oil-filled, driven cylinder enclosing a heavy free floating 
inner wheel. Acceleration between these two close fitting 
members is suppressed by the viscous action of the oil! 
The motor may he of either of the interlocked or synch- 
ronous type. These operate on a tail shaft speed of 
1,200 r.p.m. Both sound and the holdback sprockets are 
driven from this latter shaft through worm gears. 
Positive take-up magazine action is by silent chain drive. 

A variable intensity, variable density modulation 
unit eliminates the form of sound distortion known as the 
"walking" effect, inherent in ordinary modulators. 10 
Him. fihn travels at approximately one third the speed of 
35 mm. The new recorder utilises an image height of only 
.0004 inches. The modulator is capable of recording 
frequencies of 7,000 cycles per second. Equal performance 
m 35 mm. machines would necessitate extending their 
present upper range to 17,500 cycles. Modulating is by 
direct headset or loudspeaker. 




Western Electric new 16 mm. recorder with rear cover 
removed. 

Teaching Film Appreciation 

Here is a grand idea from America to encourage 
photoplay appreciation. They publish, under the recom- 
mendation of the Motion Picture Committee of the 
Department of Secondary Education, a series of guides to 
the appreciation of films. The two to hand are "Snow 
White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Piomeo and Juliet." 
Well illustrated with stills from the films, these guides 
give plenty of material for school teachers to give lessons 
on the films. They are published by Educational and 
Recreational Guides Inc. 

The Metropolitan Motion Picture Council is another 
organisation devoted to giving information about the 
cinema, showing pictures of various phases of American 
history, holding exhibitions of photography, arranging 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



131 



weekly broadcasts in which leading authorities on films can 
he heard. Free lectures and discussions are also arranged 
to encourage the wider use of films. 

Crisis 

Many dangers have passed in the last few weeks 
amongst which the settlement of the law suit between 
Associated British Picture Corporation and the Ostrer 
brothers out of court has been a great relief to the indus- 
try. The vultures who batten on every discordant note 
in film-land have been driven hungry from their prey. 

The war scare has allowed those super patriots whose 
names cannot be found on the roll of any fighting unit in 
the last war, to loudly shout patriotic slogans and give a 
display of mock heroics while doing nothing of practical 
use to their country. One of the results of their mis- 
placed zeal is the threat of censorship for newsreels. The 
mixing of too much one-sided party politics with current 
events has not been popular in our houses of entertain- 
ment. To those of us who left the industry in 1911 in 
fulfilment of our military obligations, there still remains 
the bitter memory for those who returned of finding that 
the production industry in England had ceased to exist, 
and our screens were in the grip of foreign domination. 
The few production units that still existed were without 
equipment of any kind. This should never be allowed to 
occur again. Entertainment is essential to a nation to 
maintain its equilibrium during the disaster of war. 

As most of our studios are near to aerodromes or 
other places of strategic importance the industry should 
at once prepare a scheme for a co-operative studio in a 
safe location, and details should be immediately worked 
out for the rapid collection and evacuation of tlie neces- 
sary technical equipment to these emergency studios in 
case of the outbreak of hostilities. 

Technicians and actors other than those engaged in 
works of national or military importance could be 
assembled under the auspices of their various Trade 
Unions at the suggested location, where they could be 
billeted as other refugees w ill be from the congested areas. 

It is up to the British film industry to immediately 
prepare concrete schemes so that this "shadow"' studio 
scheme could be ready for any emergency, and the nation 
would be assured that British films would still find their 
place on our screens. And in the peace that must follow, 
if civilisation still existed after such a calamity, tb • 
nucleus of our industry would slill exist for its rapid 
rebuilding. 

I'ntil this scheme is in operation the continual train- 
ing of studio and Laboratory personnel in air-raid 
precaution duties and the protection of the existing 
plants should be the duty of the industry's executives. 
Discipline, drilled knowledge of fire-fighting and first-aid, 
take a considerable period of training, and it is only those 
so trained who can coolly carry out 'heir duties in the t- ce 
of emergency and danger. 

I Get a Shock 

W hen discussing with that well known stage villain 
Tod Slaughter a short picture 1 have recently made with 
him, hi' spoke of its popularity when viewed h\ him at a 
West End cinema. He said: "Believe me. Kennneth. 
alter its showing the people next to me turned round and 
said 'I know you're Tod Slaughter, just seen you on the 



pictures'. They said they recognised my voice!" I've 
ordered a smaller size in hats — maybe photography's noi 
so hot. One up tor my sound colleague, George Newberry. 

Film Industry's Professional Footballer 

Following his world tour with the amateur side. 
Islington Corinthians, -I. W. .Miller, the well-known sound 
technician, signed as professional for Fulham, following 
tin film slump. 

J. W. Miller has been engaged on the sound side for 
a number of years, having been with B.I. P., A.T.P., and 
Universal Pictures. 

A.C.T., of whom he was an enthusiastic member, 
wish him much goal scoring in his new profession. 



BAB SOCIAL ACTIVITIES 

The A.C.T. Laboratory Social Club has organised a 
Dance and Cabaret to be held at the Paramount Dance 
Hall. Tottenham Court Load, on Saturday. Nov. 26th. 
I'iekets 2s. each, including refreshments. The presence 
o'l all A.C.T. members and friends, including those from 
the studios, will be welcomed by the Laboratory Section. 

The weekly Football Competitions organised by the 
Lab. Social Club are meeting with great success. £6 in 
prizes is being distributed each week and a tidy balance 
lias remained to the Lab. Social funds. 

Other activities are under consideration by our 
Laboratory Section and suggestions will be welcomed. 




Our Portrait Gallery, Edgar Thome, A.C.T. Vice-President 



132 



T H E C INK- 'J 1 E C IT N I C I A N 



Nov.-Dec., 1 988 



FORRESTER 

TALKS 

ON 

HIS 

AMERICAN 
TRIP 




FRESH from his trip to Hollywood and New York, 
the well known cinema equipment expert, Donald 
Forrester, had many interesting tilings to tell 
The Cine-Technician about the American film indus- 
try. One of the most interesting developments lie noticed 
in New York was in the 16 mm. field, both in education 
and advertising. Harvard University, which has used 
35 mm. hlms for a number of years, has now been re- 
equipped with a number of 1C> mm. sound projectors. 
Exchanges have great quantities of both educational and 
entertainment subjects in their libraries, and there are a 
number of plants devoted to 16 mm. processing and the 
production of educational subjects. The cost of a first- 
class school sound projector is about £0(). Most of the 
large American business houses use sub-standard films for 
both advertising and staff demonstration purposes. The 
film used by one of the New York houses to demonstrate 
their 16 mm. projector was a film of Jack Hylton made 
at Twickenham — a nice tribute to British technicians. 

In answer to the query, what struck him most on 
his visit to the Coast, Mr. Forrester said "Forest Lawns." 
This is the Hollywood cemetery, and he tells me it is 
the most beautiful in the world. 

Recalling him from his dream of this salubrious bury- 
ing place, we discussed further the motion picture in- 
dustry, starting with equipment. "The development of 
this," he said, "has come entirely from the studios." 
When the American technician comes up against a prob- 
lem he submits it to the equipment firms and the piece of 
equipment is constructed as the result of the co- 
operation of the studio technicians and the engineers 
and plenty of publicised credit is given to the creators of 
the idea. The money problem is best illustrated by the 
words of Walter Strolim, Chief Engineer to 20th Century 
Fox. When making application for money for the purchase 
of new or replacement equipment, his chief (Darryl 
Zanuek) asks, "How much will it cost? Can T see the 
results on the screen? If I can, go ahead and buy it . . . 
And God help you if I can't!" 



Forrester noticed in all the Hollywood studios be 
visited much more co-operation between departments than 
exists in England. The crews work at about the same 
speed as here lint there is no hesitation if re-takes are 
necessary. There is an air of efficiency and no passengers 
are carried. The American technicians take their job 
very seriously and are not only interested in their own 
job but possess a thorough knowledge of the whole picture 
production business. 

Our modern studios, declares friend Forrester, are as 
well equipped as any studio in America, hut adds that 
he saw a number of innovations applied to dubbing and 
recording which saved considerable time. "The new 
Mitchell camera, which is totally enclosed in a small 
blimp, which is part of the camera, struck me as possess- 
ing a number of features of help to the camera operator, 
and the new back projection apparatus incorporates some 
brilliant ideas." In answer to our request as to what the 
American public think of British pictures, be declared that 
both the exhibitors and the public were much impressed 
by the British pictures seen there, particularly in San 
Franciso, and there is a definite feeling that they would 
like to see more. This, of course, depends on the dis- 
tributor. 

Forrester took some British equipment with him. 
although he considered it was like "taking coals to New- 
castle." He was amazed at the interest displayed and 
the resulting orders. Asked if he had met any of the 
American cameramen who had worked in England, he 
said "Yes. and they would all like to get back here 
to work!" The state of the American industry, to his 
id, is worse than it is in England. 



To sum up, he found that the high spots of his Holly- 
wood visit were the elaborate and efficient Research 
Department of M.G.M., the enormous exterior lots, the 
huge Ice Rink stage at 20th Century Fox, the extremely 
had sound reproduction at the Hollywood Bowl, and the 
new Douglas D.C.4 plane. 



Nov. -Dee., 1938 



THE 



CINE-TECHNICIAN 



133 



Bell & Howell NON-SLIP 35mm. SOUND PRINTER 



IN the early part of 193G, the B.C. A. laboratories advo- 
cated a printer for 3.") mm. sound track, the main 
feature of which was a departure from the customary 
film control by means of a precision sprocket. 

The design of the printer was based on the principle 
that two strips of film of different lengths (shrunk negative 
and unshrunk positive) can be made to travel past a con- 
tact point without slippage between the two, provided 
that they are made to travel between two drums in such 
manner that the shrunk negative film maintains a uniform 
speed and forms an arc of constant chord-height while 
the unshrunk positive, though travelling in close contact 
through pressure with the negative, is left free to assume 
a concave or convex curvature, the radius of which will 
vary according to the differences in length of the two 
films. 

This is possible because of the fact that by forcing 
the negative film to travel over a drum of a certain pre- 
determined diameter, the film will maintain its mean 
length, while its convex side is stretched in proportion to 
the arc that it subtends. 



BELL & HOWELL 



NON-SLI? F2l."STEe 




9O0O CYCLES RECORDED ON EASTMAN 15 57 NEGATIVE (u V ) 



9000 CYCLES BELL& HOWELL PRINT FROM EASTMAN 1357 NEGATIVE (u.v) 




9000 CYCLES RECORDED ON EASTMAN I34>0 NEGATIVE (WHITE LIGHT) 




9000 CYCLES BELLS. HOWELL PRINT FROM EASTMAN 134,0 NEGATIVE (WHITE LIGHT) 

Figure i 



The longer positive film, if held in close contact with 
the negative, with sufficient pressure to produce traction, 
will follow a concave, or convex path, the result being 
that the outer convex surface of the negative is stretched 
while the surface of the positive automatically assumes 
a form which will compensate for the differences in length 
of the two films. 

The simple test of running an unshrunk positive film 
through the non-slip printer in contact with a negative 
made up of unequally shrunk sections, therefore varying 
in length, will clearly demonstrate that changes in the 
size of the feed loop of the positive film will cause a 
considerable change in the angle at which the film 
approaches the printing contact point, thus forcing the 
positive film to make contact w ith the shorter negative 
film only along the line of tangency which varies auto- 
matically according to the differences in the lengths of 
the two films. Film shrinkages are thus accommodated 
within relatively wide margins. 

HORIZONTAL OPERATION 

The first departure from the conventional design of 
non-slip printers was to construct the Bell & Howell 
model to operate horizontally instead of vertically. In 
this position, the heavy rolls of film are fully supported 
and will unwind with a minimum of effort and a minimum 
of friction between the convolutions of the film roll. 

Another important factor is that both films are thus 
kept in such a position with reference to the moving parts 
(it tin' machine which need lubrication that the danger 
i'i nil or other lubricants coining in contact w ith the film 
is entirely eliminated. 

Equally efficient operation of the printer in either the 
forward or the reverse direction, which has been made 
possible by the horizontal construction of the machine, 
results in a considerable saving of time by eliminating the 
necessity of re-threading the negative after each print. 
Besides the time saving feature, the forward and reverse 
operation introduces a safety factor by reducing the hand- 
ling of the negative to a minimum. 

DIAGRAMMATIC EXPLANATION 

As shown in the accompanying photograph (Fig. J), 
the negative hhn "A," supported by flanges of 1,200 foot 
capacity, is led to a sprocket over the rollers "B." The 
negative sprockets "C" are precision bobbed 32 tooth 
sprockets. The form and pitch of the teeth are calculated 
to ensure smooth driving of the film and proper stripping 
action at the point where the film leaves the teeth. The 
wrapping of the Him around the sprocket and therefore 
the number of teeth in mesh is controlled by the roller 
" B" and the film guard "D." From the sprocket, the 
film is led over the fixed roller "E" and the floating roller 
"F," both of which are mounted on hall bearings and 
flanged with spring guides to guide the film positively 
around the printing drum "G." Neither the negative 
rollers "F" nor the positive rollers "I" are set in a 
fixed position. 

The switching of the direction of operation of the 
printer from forward to reverse, or vice versa, is con- 
trolled by means of the handle "K," which, by means 
of a yoke and adjustable stops, also causes the rollers to 
assume the proper position according to their function, 
the function being determined by the direction of opera- 



134 



THE GINE-TECHXICI A N 



Nov. -I )(■<-.. 1988 



lion oJ the printer. The path oi both films and the posi- 
tion of the rollers is clearly shown in the illustration in 
which the printer is set to operate Ironi right to left. 

It is to be noted that the positive roller "1" at the 

left is not operative, while the roller "I" at the right 

positively guides the film with sufficient resilient tension 
to allow it to find its own path, which is dependent upon 

the differences in length between negative and positive 
films . 

The positive 32 tooth sprockets "L" are, like the 
negative sprockets, precision hobbed, hut ot different base 
diameter (tooth pitch) and different tooth width, with due 
consideration to the tact that their function is to drive 
unshrunk or verj slightly shrunk positive film "M." 

The long flexible loop between printing point and 
take-up sprocket absorbs any disturbance that may be 
created at this sprocket, while the operative tension and 
imide rollers "I" ensure freedom from disturbances which 
it the iced sprocket. 

'(!" at the printing point has a l-in. 
made ol hardened stainless steel, while 



may be created 
The drum 
diameter and is 
the pressure ro 



11" (also of stainless steel) has a 
hese dimensions arc calculated to 
film 1 1 ■ 1 1 u t lis as are met 



1 1 1 



diameter of %-m 

accommodate differences 
laboratory practice. 

Perfect contact of the two films at the printing point 
is assured by carefully controlled spring pressure exerted 
on the roller "11," sufficient to create traction at the 
printing point without imposing undue stress on the films. 

Freedom of action is secured by free application of 
precision hall bearings. 



DRIVING POWER 

The driving source of power is a | h,p. 220 volt A.C., 
ii phase, CO cycle, hall bearing, squirrel cage induction 
met or. turning at 1 ,725 r.p.m . . and with heavy duty worm 
gear reducer to operate the printer at a speed ot 7."> feet 
per minute. The speed of "io feet per minute has been 

determined as an optimum speed to safeguard both nega- 
tive and positive film, and to protect against static mark- 
ings which may occur under some atmospheric conditions. 
It has also been calculated to correspond with the output 
ot the regular Hell A Howell Model I) printers as used 
lor printing the picture area in normal laboratory pro- 
cedure. This speed can he increased if so desired on 
special order to have the printer to operate at either 
111) or 111) feet per minute The speed required should 
he stipulated at the time of placing orders, as the direct 
drive of the machine will not permit incorporation of 
variable speeds. 

The power delivered by the motor is directly trans- 
mitted to the moving parts by a worm gear attachment, 
which runs in an oil hath, insuring smooth, positive, con- 
stant motion— no belts to introduce uneven motion. The 
hold-hack and take-up drive is exceedingly smooth acting 
and is adjustable by varying the pressure on a system of 
multiple plate disc clutches. Any possible disturbance 
which nia\ be created even by the most carefully de- 
signed and constructed mechanical drive are eliminated 
through a mechanical filter stabilizer mounted on sealed 
ball hearings with brush type friction. 




Bell and Howell Sound Non-slip Printer 
Figure 2 



Nov.-Dec., 1938 



THE C I N E - T E C H N I C I A N 



L35 



PRINTING LIGHT SOURCE 

The actual printing occurs at the point of contact of 
tlif two films through the drum "G" and the pressure 
roller "H." 

The height of the drum "G" is such that the sound 
track as recorded on the negative is above the drum and 
therefore open to the action of the printing light which 
consists, at the printing point, of an optical light slit 
.005-in. in width. 

The printing light slit is produced by an optical 
system "X" comprising: 

(a) A 10 volt 7—1/2 ampere vertical filament exciter 
lamp as light source, with a prefocus base, 
securing accurate alignment of the filament 
with the optical system. 

(6) A short focus condenser whic h collects the greatest 
possible amount of light energy. 

(c) A .080-in, (2 millimetre) thick glass ultra violet 

(U.V.) filter as standard with provisions made 
for easy interchange of filters up to a thick- 
ness of 5 mm. 

(d) A mechanical slit .010-in. wide. 

(e) A 32 mm. fully corrected lens, especially designed 

to image the mechanical slit at a reduction ol 
2 to 1, focussing it at the printing point in the 
form of a luminous slit .005-in. w ide. 

The exciter lamp operating at approximately 8 volts 
with the printer running at the speed of 75 lift per 
minute ensures sufficient exposure time while the low 
voltage at which the exciter is operated ensures long life 
and constant brilliance of the light source. The power 
supply for the exciter lamp is secured from a 12 volt 
battery as obtainable on the open market. A trickle 
charger with adjustable charging rate to ensure a constant 
voltage supply of !).('. current is interlocked with the 
printing lamp switch to automatically maintain the bat- 
tery charge. 

EXPOSURE CONTROL 

Accurate exposure control is secured through visual 
inspection of a highly responsive ammeter graduated in 
steps of 1/10 amps. Two rheostats, one for coaisr and 
one lor fine settings, are enclosed in the casting holding 
the ammeter, the whole unit being made an integral pari 
of the printer, as shown in the illustration. (Note that 
the unit has been removed, for convenience of photograph- 
ing, to secure the "top view" of the printer). 

The convenience of operation of the non-slip printer 
is enhanced by the ease of threading either positive or 
negative films, and by the interlocking motor sw itch "<)." 
with reverse, which does not permit to start the machine 
running in the wrong direction. All lubricating points 
are of easy access and a positively driven film counter 
"P" with four digits is supplied as an integral part of 
the printer. Two 110 volt pilot lamps, wired in series 
for 220 volt operation, are installed so that fehej will not 
interfere with the operator and permit eas\ reading of 
the ammeter and of the timing index card. 

The results that are to be secured through the non- 
slip printer are illustrated by the greatly magnified, 
attached photographic enlargements of a 9,000 frequencies 
negative, and corresponding print (fiff. ?)• 



Technical Abstracts 

MAINTENANCE OF A DEVELOPER BY 
CONTINUOUS REPLENISHMENT— H M. Evans 
(S.M.P.E. Journal, Sept. 1938) 
This paper points out the importance of consistent 
quality of developing solutions not only from hour to 
hour but over periods of years, and attempts to reduce 
the problem of replenishment to a niathmatical equation. 
The bath discussed is the usual elon-hydroquinone develo- 
per, and the factors causing exhaustion are enumerated in 
detail. It is suggested that there are many advantages 
to be gained by the addition of routine analytical tests 
to the photographic tests already in use. The analytical 
methods of Lehman and Tausch are outlined. 

NEGATIVE-POSITIVE TECHNIQUE WITH THE 
DUFAYCOLOR PROCESS T. T. Baker 
(S.M.P.E. Journal, Sept. 1938) 
Report of progress made and difficulties overcome in 
the technique of making prints from screen-film negatives. 
The contact printing machine used is described with 
special reference to the problems involved in choosing a 
suitable light-source. Residual colour dilution has been 
counteracted by the choice of suitable developing gammas. 
The importance of correct emulsion characteristics is also 
stressed. 

THE HYP-O-METER 

(International Photographer, July. 193S) 

This instrument records on a meter the amount of 
hypo, it any, present in the washing water. It is adjusted 
first of all to give a zero reading in pure tap-water, and 
measurements are obtained of the relative resistance of 
any fluid in which the electrodes are submerged. Energy 
is derived from two small 3-volt flash-light batteries. 

THE PROTIZE PROCESS 

(International Photographer, July, 10381 

Advisability of the treatment of "green" films in 
order to prevent handling and projection scratches is 
discussed. A new fluid for toughening and lubricating 
the film is announced and its benefits are briefly enumer- 
ated. 

APPLICATION OF NON-LINEAR VOLUME 
CHARACTERISTICS TO DIALOGUE RECORDING— 

J. (). Aalberg and J. (1. Stewart. 
(S.M.P.E. Journal, Sept. 1938 

H.K.O. Studios have found a peculiar effect in area 
recording which is not apparent in density recording — 
the effect oi sharp volume increases in speech — increases 
of recorded level greater than the increase in level of the 
spoken word. It was therefore suggested that an electrical 
compressor circuit be used so that these momentary peaks 
could be controlled and the highest possible intelligibility 
obtained without knob twisting. A non-linear compressor 
was used and the practical results of its use are mentioned. 
The discussion following the article is very interesting. 

PERMANENT MAGNET LIGHT VALVE 

(S.M.P.E. Journal, Sept. 1938) 

In the Patents and Inventions Section an interesting 
account is given of the construction of a permanent magnet 
four-ribbon ligbl valve for portable push-pull recording. 



130 



T II E C J N B - T E C H N 1 C 1 A N 



Nov. -Dec, L988 



George H. Elvin, A.C.TVs Delegate, Reports 
on the 70th Trades Union Congress 



IN reporting that international affairs have taken a 
prominent place in the year's work, the seventieth 
annual report of the Trades Union Congress states 
that "a Movement such as ours, in dealing primarily 
with the industrial life of our members, cannot he un- 
mindful of the threat to human life, material conditions 
and civilisation itself, occasioned by the growth of intense 
nationalism, and the consequent threat to democratic in- 
stitutions of which our Movement is an outstanding 
example. 

Bearing this in mind, and remembering the tense- 
ness of the international situation during the early days 
of September, it is apparent that a large portion of dele- 
gates' time at the Trades Union Congress was devoted 
to international affairs. It is not my purpose in this 
article to deal with the decisions of Congress on such 
matters. They are well known to members through the 
lay press and the circular which the A.C.T. General 
Council issued to members at the end of September. 

The influence which five million trade unionists 
through the T.U.C. can exert on any matter of national 
and international importance is great, and no one will 
gainsay that that influence is being used in these difficult 
days to try and ensure that sanity and peace prevail. 
I personally am confident that the Blackpool decisions 
were the right ones, and that they put forward in no 
uncertain terms the only policy to ensure a real peace 
in Europe. And that is something we all want. 

And now to turn to other matters. It is impossible 
to give in any article of this nature an adequate report 
of a year's work, followed by a week's Congress of the 
Trade Union Movement. That is printed and runs into 
over 500 pages. A copy may be borrowed from the A.C.T. 
Library. J merely pronose to outline some of the more 
important decisions which closely affect film technicians. 
FAIR WAGES AND THE FILMS ACT 
Firstly, there is our own resolution, moved by myself, 
seconded by Mr. T. O'Brien of the N.A.T.K.E., and 
carried unanimously . It read : — 

"This Congress places on record its appreciation oj 
the co-operation of the General Council with the unions 
in the film industry to improve the legislation affecting 
film production , and particularly the incorporation of a 
Fair Wages Clause in the Cinematograph Films Act, 
1938. 

It regrets, however, the attempts that have been 
made by certain producers to evade the terms of the 
Act, and instructs the General Council, in conjunction 
with the unions in the film industry, to take such action 
as may be deemed necessary to enstire compliance with 
the Act and to expedite the negotiation of collective 
agreements for all workers in the film industry ." 
Unfortunately owing to an overcrowded agenda it was 
not possible for Mr. O'Brien and myself to develop the 
points we hoped to make (a three-minutes time limit for 
speeches was imposed by the time we came to mount 
the rostrum). A statement was, therefore, issued imme- 
diately after the Conference, which was based on the 
notes we had prepared. 



This statement clearly laid down the A.C.T. inter- 
pretation of the fair Wages Clause, and then proceeded 
to give detailed evidence of the alleged breaches of the 
Films Act. It quoted, for example, the hours worked 
on one particular production, which were up to 70 hours 
in the worst week. These times did not include travelling 
to and from the studio, picking away gear at the end 
of the day, the viewing of rushes, and meal breaks. The 
hours cited meant that technicians were doing nearly two 
weeks' work in every week, without any additional pay- 
ment. As the majority of the staff were dismissed at 
the end of the production, the existing hours resulted 
in their employment being terminated three weeks earlier 
than if normal hours had been observed. Examples were 
given (if the salaries paid and the percentage they were 
below A.C.T's. fair wage rate. Cases quoted were 8%, 
17%, 25%, 33% and 02% below the rates. 

A case was quoted of an operative cameraman being 
asked to do lighting on his grossly inadequate salary of 
tO per week. Another case quoted was of technicians 
on a production being asked to take £1 a week cut. This 
included persons earning only £2 10s. Od. per week. 

On the documentary side, the position is equally un- 
satisfactory, and specific details were given including one 
case of a sound crew whose combined salaries were only 
£4 per week. 

The unanimous passing of the motion tabled at the 
Trades Union Congress will ensure the full support of the 
whole trade union movement for any action which may 
be necessary to ensure compliance with the Fair Wages 
Clause of the Cinematograph Films Act, 1938. and any 
appropriate action necessary to expedite the negotiation 
of collective agreements for all workers in the film 
industry. 

HOURS IN CINEMA INDUSTRY 

The Electrical Trades Union moved a resolution 
(which was carried) demanding that no motion picture 
projectionists shall be employed for more than eight hours 
per day or forty-eight hours per week, and calling upon 
the Government to give legislative effect to this end. In 
moving the resolution, Mr. Gregory said the position was 
one in which the factor of safety had to be taken into 
account. "Safety and hours," he said, "should go 
together to strengthen our demand for the Government 
to bring in legislation for a 48-hour week." 

FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION 

An important resolution, moved by the Guild of 
Insurance Officials, deplored the fact that many employees 
are denied rights and benefits of collective bargaining and 
urged all affiliated unions to give every assistance to those 
organisations which have not yet achieved recognition, 
and called upon the General Council to do all in its power, 
both industrially and politically, to obtain the full Trade 
Union rights for every worker in industry. 

INCREASED INCOME LIMIT 

A.C.T. has always associated itself with the agitation 
to increase the income limit for State Unemployment 
Insurance. The policy of Congress was reaffirmed in a 



Nov.-Dec, 1938 



THE CINE- T E C H N.I C I A N 



137 



resolution moved by the National Union of Clerks regret- 
ting the inaction of the Government regarding the intro- 
duction of the necessary legislation to increase the Income 
Limit for non-manual workers for inclusion in State 
Unemployment Insurance from £250 to £500 per annum. 
The resolution urged the Government at least to act upon 
the recommendation of its own Committee, the Unem- 
loyment [nsuran* e Statutory Committee. 

FOREIGN REFUGEES 

The .Medical Practioners' Union opposed the recom- 
mendation of the General Council that a yearly maximum 
of 50 doctors and 100 dentists be allowed to enter this 
country from foreign countries during the next four years. 
It was stated that the Union had not been consulted by 
the T.U.C. in coming to this decision and it was claimed 
that if the Trades Union Congress was to be consistent 
they should allow a proportionate number to come into 
the country of skilled artisans and workers in engineering 
and similar trades, instead of picking out just the medical 
profession. I personally was thankful they had not, but 
knowing the attitude oi the A.C.T.. if such a policy was 
adopted as far as our own industry was concerned, 1 
voted with the movers of the reference back, which al- 
though it had a large support was insufficient to defeat 
the General Council. 1 am confident that the very able 
ease put up by our medical colleagues, and the support 
it received, will ensure that the Genera] Council is very 
careful of such action on future occasions, in the medical 
profession or any other. 

WORKERS' FILM SERVICE 

The General Council reported that a Special .Joint 
Committee of the Trades Union Congress, the Labour 
Party, and the Co-operative Movement, had decided to 
set up their own distribution and production organisation. 
Luring the Congress a demonstration oi the type of film 
which it is proposed will be available through the service 
was given to delegates. The films had a magnificent re- 
ception, and it was particularly pleasing to see the names 
of leading A.C.T. members in the documentary field on 
the credit titles. I am confident such a service has a big 
future, and it is indeed fortunate to have appointed as 
its secretary .Mr. Joseph beeves, who as educational secre- 
tary of the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society has been 
a pioneer in making films ot this nature and, of course, 
making them with A.C.T. technicians. Mr. Reeves is 
now installed in his new offices on the floor above A.C.T. 
at 145 Wardour Street. 

ELECTIONS 

I stood tor office for the first time and was nominated 
Eor auditor. I was not elected but polled 852,000 votes, 
which seems very satisfactory for a first attempt. 
T. O'Brien (N.A.T.E.) polled 848.000 in an unsuccessful 
effort to oust the President from his seat on the General 
Council. J. Rowan (E.T.U.) was also unsuccessful in 
his group. 

THE PRESIDENT 

I was particularly glad, if T may be pardoned for 
introducing a personal note, to be the A.C.T. delegate 
to a Congress presided over by my father, w ho in serving 
in that capacity occupied the greatest office which it is 
possible to attain in the Trade Union Movement, far be 
it from nil to eommenl upon his chairmanship, other than 
to say that I had no difficulty in catching his eye on the 
only occasion I wished to mount the rostrum! But it is 
important to note that the National Union of Clerks and 



Administrative Workers, of which Mr. H. H. Elvin is 
General Secretary, is a small union of 12,000 members. 
The Trades Union Congress is always prepared to devote 
as much time (as we learned over the Eilms Act cam- 
paign) to the smaller unions as to those whose vastness 
makes us shudder. Because A.C.T. has, comparatively 
speaking, only a handful of members is no reason why it 
should not play its full part in the Trade Union Move- 
ment. I am confident that our members will make up 
in service what they lack in numbers. Let us work with 
our colleagues (in whatever industry they be found) to the 
benefit of all as we expect and know they will help us in 
film production. As our President concluded his address 
"FOB WARD AND ONWARD TILL OUR GOAL IS 
WON." 



FILM SOCIETY 

The Film Society opens its 14th Season on Novem- 
ber 20th. Six performances will be given during the year. 
Among the films from which a final selection will be made 
are : — 
France 

"La Femme du Boulanger" by Marcel Pagnol. 
"Entree des Artistes" by Marc Allegret. 
"Le Joueur" (alter Dostoievsky) by Gerhard Lamp- 
recht. 

"Ignace" (with Eernandel) by Pierre Colombier. 
"( Ilochemerle" 

"La Chartreuse de Parme" by Carmine Gallone. 

"Werther" by Max Ophuls 

"La Bete Elumaine" by Jean Renoir 

"La Marseillaise" by Jean Renoir 

"Le Drame de Shanghai" by Pabst 

Volpone" 
" Ultimatum" 
"Carrefour" 

••Belle Etoile" by Baroncelli 

U.S.S.R. 

"Lone White Sail" (Soyuzdetfilm) 
" Professor Mamlock" 
"Alexander Nevski" by Eisenstein 
"Rich Bride" 
"Childhood of Gorki" 

Mexico 

"Redes" 

Czechoslovakia 

"The Inspector General" (after Gogol) 

Germany 

"Olympiad" by Beni Riefenstahl 

The shorter films will include new work from Great 
Britain. France, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, China, 
Roumania am 1 Turkey. 

As usual there will be special rates of subscription 
for film" technicians ; 13/6 for the season of six perform- 
ances, a reduction of 5/6 on the lowest standard rate. 

Membership Forms have been sent to A.C.T. mem- 
bers but further copies may be obtained either from the 
A.C.T. office, 145 Wardour Street, W.I., or direct from 
The Film Society, 81 Poland Street, W.l. 

It is pleasant to see several members of A.C.T. on 
the Film Society's Council, including Anthony Asquith, 
Sidney Cole. Thorold Dickinson, Ivor Montagu and Basil 
Wright. 



T BE CI N K -TECHNIC] A N 



Nov.-Dec, 1988 



Recent Publications 



Motion Picture Sound Engineering l,\ the Research 
Council ill the Academy ol Motion picture Arts and 
Sciences, Chapman & Hall. 30/-. 

Two years ago the Researcli Council of the Academj 

of Motion Picture Alls and Sciences started a course ol 

lectures on the fundamentals of sound recording. The 
classes were so well attended by sound department 
employees from all Hollywood studios that it was 
decided to incorporate these lectures into bo >k form. 

Several experts irom Hollywood studios have contributed 
to this hook, whose five hundred odd pages are excellently 
printed and produced. It is one oi the tiist rcallv 
valuable hooks to he published on Sound Recording. 

The first part ol the hook deals with the technique oi 
recording proper, including what is equally as important, 
the reproducing system. It is extremelj complete and 

the very latest technical details on push-pull tracks and 

Hi— range recording are given. Some knowledge of 
electrical engineering and higher mat lunatics is required 
(the first" principles of these are explained in part two). 
Some idea of the amount ol detail and completeness may 
be ganged h\ the treatment ol phase-distortion. In tli • 
earlier days of sound recording, volume and frequency 
distortions were our main obstacles, and phase distortion 
was not considered important ; hut the modern use of 
equalising and attenuating networks, especially in re- 
recording, introduces phase distortion which must be 
understood before such networks can he correctly used. 
The theory and design of these takes up, perhaps, too 
much room; though important, it is reallj the work of 
the design engineer and the maintenance engineer, though 
of course, the hook docs state "in the choice and use of 
corrective equalisers a re-recorder can only he guided by 
car. The nature and amount of correction must he 
determined by trial." 

Every stage of the process of Sound Engineering is 
described in detail with excellent diagrams and graphs, 
and each piece of apparatus, irom the various types of 
mikes to the various types of reproducing speakers, is fully 
discussed. The description ol each piece <>f apparatus is 
accompanied by characteristic curves and corresponding 
mathematical formulae. 

The second part of the book deals with theory and 
design starting with the first principles of electricity and 
magnetism and ending with valve and amplifier design, 
involving the higher calculus. This is, of course, an 
extremely difficult task, and although the formulae are 
simplified as much as possible, the reader needs a certain 
knowledge of electrical theory. 

To engineers of some experience this book is of 
invaluable reference. To the young assistant and the 
unfledged recordist it is a very necessary and extremely 
valuable text-book. The Academy of [Motion Picture 
Arts and Sciences is to be congratulated on having 
produced an extremely useful piece of work. 

(1. II. NEWBERRY. 

Films in the Making by Robb Lawson. Pitmans. '2 -. 

The publicity chief of a film organisation occupies 
the position of liason officer between the film trade and 
the general public, and so Mr. Robb Lawson is very well 
qualified to explain our business to the layman. This he 
has done in his present short history of the motion picture 



industry, which, although it may seem to us technicians 
to err on the side ol over-simplification, is, 1 am sure, 
exactly what the public wants in a book ot this kind. 

Beginning with the original problem of "making 
photographs move," Mr. Lawson traces the history of our 
branch ol the entertainment business down to the present 
da\ and Television. He is never content with a bare 
statement ot fact, but by means ot quotations from such 
authorities as the former trade paper "The Optical Magic 
Lantern -Journal." and personal interviews with pioneer 
showmen, keeps the narrative at a consistently high level 
ol interest as he traces the changes in production and 
exhibition technique and the opening up of fresh 
possibilities lor the medium through the development of 
synchronised sound, colour photography, etc. There is no 
aspect of the industry, including News Heed and Cartoon 
work, that is not dealt with in this necessarily very brief 
survey, and with his account of the latest developments in 
Television he brings us up to 1088. 

It is a pity that the hook should be afflicted with so 
many misprints, a particularly glaring example of which 
is the description ol a diagram of a television receiving 
set as the "Interior of H.M.V. Television Studio," but 
no doubt this will be put right in subsequent editions of 
this extremely entertaining little book. 

D.B. 

The Captain's Chair, bj Robert Flaherty. Hodder & 
S tough ton. 7 6d. net. 

Years ago, before Flaherty made any films or wrote 
any novels, he spent his time exploring North America. 
He knew, not every inch perhaps but certainly a great 
part, ot the Labrador Peninsula, and the Eskimos and 
Indians who lived there were his friends. Out of his 
knowledge of this area and its people came, by one of 
those happy chances which have such tremendous results, 
his first film "Nanook of the North," which told the story 
of the Eskimo's struggle to live, and which established 
Flaherty as one of the great figures of the cinema. 

Out of this knowledge, too, he has given us bis first 
novel "The Captain's Chair." It tells a series of stories 
of the people who live in Arctic Canada ; of Captain Jensen, 
the Dane, refusing to leave his ship though she lay beached 
and broken on the coast of Charlton Island ; of Omarolluk, 
the Eskimo guide, taking fantastic journeys across the ice 
and snow of the Peninsula ; of Comock and his family, 
marooned lor ten years on an island far out at sea. facing 
interminable hunger, while members of the family die, or 
go mad and have to be killed to save the others; of 
Nucktie the Ow l, who had a trading agreement with God ; 
and of many others. Together the stories give a picture 
of life in North America which becomes an epic of human 
persistence. Linking it all together is the story of the 
trading posts of the Hudson's Bay Company, scattered 
hundreds of miles apart around the Bay. 

Their one contact with civilisation and with each 
other is the annual visit of the relief ship from England, 
called by the Eskimos "the greatest canoe in the world." 
The story of this ship and Captain Grant, its master, 
binds together into one whole the separate histories of the 
book. 

Flaherty makes no attempt at fine writing ; he uses 
words as objectively as he uses his camera, bringing out 



Nov. -Dec, 1938 



THE CI.XE-TECHXICIAN 



139 



the poetry and drama of his subject without straining tor 
effect, helped by the vital power of his observation. The 
strength of the book is the strength of a man who tells of 
things which he has experienced himself, and of people 
whom lie knows intimately. 

S.G.H. 

"Charles Laughton And I" by Elsa Lanchester. Faber & 
Faber, 8/6d. 

No-one who knows Elsa would expect her to be 
capable of writing anything dull, and this book has plenty 
of the acuteness of expression that her talent has always 
shown. 

She is a most interesting person. Fans who see her 
in films (or more rarely, on the stage) nowadays notice 
with an astonishment that is always fresh with what 
ability she plays every part. You do not expect "Mrs." 
Laughton to be with him on the screen as well as in the 
home. And when she plays so well that you are forced 
to admit that she "belongs," why, naturally, it results 
in a start of surprise. The circle before which she played 
and earned her reputation before she was "Mrs." was not 
a large one, but it had no doubts about her, and I think 
it was right. Had she and Charles never come together, 
her acting personality might never have adapted itself as 
one acceptable to the widest audience, but she would 
certainly have fixed famously in her own genre an 
ineradicable niche. 

Instead, a very different course. The sense of whai 
the "Mrs." business has both won and Lost is very promi- 
nent in this story. Making a success of marriage and 
showing that your acting ability is enough to hold your 
own even in a field and style that is not naturally yours 
has been hard work, that is obvious, but it has been well 
done, like this book. 

What has such a book to be? Obviously the picture 
of a reigning film star, semi-autobiographically sponsored, 
is likely to be neither a ruthless microscope-cum-search- 
li^'ht revelation of human nature nor a candid picture of 
How Films Are Made behind the screen. A film 
star is a mask to millions, and if he presented himself 
before those millions in any other shape than the expected 
mask, he would no longer be the star. The situation is 
entirely unaffected by the fact, in this context irrelevant, 
that he is also an actor of genius. As Elsa observes: "In 
film making" (she might have added: in books about film 
people) "it is necessary to strike a happy medium between 
your own ideals and what the public want, and to set your 
integrity between these two points — a pretty tough 
course." And I think she has done it. She has told the 
tale of the lives of Charles and Mrs., enumerating the 
facts and yet reconciling them with the masks. Elsa's 
earthy graphically of caricature, summing up the pith of 
a matter in a tew strokes — always her forte — comes 
through better in the narrative parts than in the reflec- 
tions and descriptions, which are. inevitably I suppose, 
a bit as the doctor ordered. The thing most to the 
menage's credit is that even the "narkv" reader will find 
the impression creeping through, that the inevitable stock 
picture of a film couple as "pleasant" is in this case not 
unfair. 

Photographs excellently chosen and arranged ; a 
marvellous Thurber drawing epitomising all that the book, 
between its lines, is about; a flattering, though unidenti- 
fied reference to your excellent reviewer on p. 187; and a 
sole incautious "foot of clay" peeping through the careful 



structure, the revelation that Elsa thinks of cats as "it." 
Fie ! 

Note for future editions: spell "Laski" "Lasky" on 
p. 96; Charles played not a policeman but a crook, p. 94. 
Technician's angle; read the book and get to know the 
boss and his wife and their quirks. You may one day 
work for them. IYOE MONTAGU. 

NEW BOOKS ON PHOTOGEAPHY 

( hapman & Hall announce three new books which will 
be of particular interest to Still Photographers. 

"THE FUN OF PHOTOGRAPHY" is by Mario and 
Mabel Scacheri (15s.) and lays its emphasis primarily on 
the resourcefulness of the mind behind the lens. The 
fundamental rules of composition are illustrated, and de- 
veloping, straight printing, trick printing, simple and 
multiple montages and saleability are taken up in detail. 
The book is very well illustrated. 

"PICTURE MAKING W I T H PAPER 
NEGATIVES" is by Nowel Ward, and costs Cs. It puts 
forward the view that without any retouching or manipu- 
lation such a process gives a dramatic quality to the final 
print. 

"THE AMERICAN ANNUAL OF PHOTOGPA I'll V 
1939" (8s. 6d. paper cover, 12s. 6d. cloth bound) is the 
53rd annual volume of the well known Year Look edited 
by the Editor of "American Photography." In addition 
to the profuse illustrations there are 23 articles concerned 
not only w ith recent advances and new trends in photo- 
graphy but also with matters of an aesthetic nature claim- 
ed to help the professional and amateur to obtain even 
better photographs. 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



PUBLISHED Six Issues per annum (January, 
March, May, July, September, November). 

Associate Edition 

Max Andersen, Sidney Cole, George H. Elvin, 
Kenneth Cordon. 



Subscription Rate. 

9cj. t .er copy ; 1 1 d. post free. 5/6 per annum, 
post free. 

Special A.C.T. Members' Rates. 

6d. per copy; 8d. post free. 4/- per annum, 
post free. 

Order through any A.C.T. Studio, Laboratory 
or Newsreel representative, any branch of 
W. H. Smith & Son, Ltd., or direct from 
the A.C.T., 145, Wardour Street, W.l. 



140 



1 H Ji CINE- T E < I I N 1 C I A N 



Nov. -Dec, WW 



listen to mo, fellow members of mine, 

I have beard from reliable sources, 
That some have tried hard or at least dropped a card, 

And are tapping the foreign resources. 
It isn't lor me to make flippant remarks. 

No one would permit such a blunder, 
But lei me quote here the replies that J fear 

Might possibly be, as hereunder: — - 
I'Yom Germany now, an answer like this? 

(Preceded, of course, by a IlciV.) 
" \\ e've dumped all our best men and only have Yes-men, 

It may not fit in with your style." 
"In any case, Herr, the films that were made 

In the past, and which caused such a flutter. 
Have had to be stopped the business has flopped; 

Our motto's now 'Guns and not butter'." 
"We wanta make pictures," Italians will say, 

"We send Bruno abroad for to learn, 
Hut our principal acta, is making a Pacta, 

So all we still do is just yearn." 
The answer from Russia : "Dear Comrade, perhaps 

If you are exceedingly gifted, 
And really quite hot on a good model shot. 

Your references we will have sifted." 
"And if you can teach us more than we know, 

Please come right away, do not pause; 




"Please come right away, do not pause" 



Our films will be grander — perhaps less propaganda, 
In the meantime, Fraternally yours . . . ." 

Replj from .Japan, rather short I should think; 
"We are not making films any more, 

in tin- band of the Sun, () illustrious one, 
We'd much rather be making war." 



PIGSWILL'S 
PENURIOUS 
PROGRESS 

France would say. "It's undoubtedly true 

Our pictures we know how to treat 'em; 
The characters live — our technicians give 

Ol their best : do you think you could beat 'em?" 
America now : (this is bound to be good) 

"In England we've men by the score, 
Doing your work there mind you, so now we can find you 

A clapper-boy's job to be sure." 




Forewarned is forearmed, the old adage says; 

So now you know what to expect. 
Bui it abroad you adjourn — please take a return, 

'Cos there may be a Film Boom here yet\ 




Small illustration shows the Eyemo fitted 
with magazines and motor drive, ready for 
any contingency inside or outside the studio. 
The mobility of this unit makes it a very 
desirable acquisition on those occasions 
when the bulkier apparatus is out of the 
question. 



BELL & HOWELL CO. LTD 

Since 1907 the world's largest manufacturers of precision equipment for motion picture 
studios of Hollywood and the World 

13-14, GT. CASTLE STREET, OXFORD CIRCUS, LONDON, W.I. 

Telephone : LANGham 3988 9 



We are told that "a rose with any other name would smell as sweet" 
Maybe. 

We only know that a camera with any other name wouldn't run as 
sweet. It must be a Vinten. 

Precision is what we insist upon and then greater precision still. 

Sweet running is only one of the results —one of the many qualities 
that together enable you to concentrate on the shooting and leave 
the camera to look after itself. 

The time to think about who made the camera is before you use it. 
That's when to make sure it bears the name of 




W. VINTEN LTD., 106, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.1. 

Telephone : Gerrard 4792. Cables : Vintaclnnl, London. 
WORKS: NORTH CIRCULAR ROAD, CRICKLEWOOD, N.W.2. 'Phone: GLADSTONE 6373. 

Pitcbfvdt 



Published by the Proprietors, The Association of Cine-Technicians, 145, Wardour Street, London, W.i., and printed for them 

by The Swindon Press Ltd., Newspaper House, Swindon, Wilts. 




r 



NO. 19 



9. 



JANUARY 
FEBRUARY 



GEORGE H. ELVIN 
RALPH M. EVANS 
FREDDIE FORD 
D. H. GEARY 
OTTO KANTUREK 
J. NEILL-BROWN 
R. S. W. POLLARD 
I. D. WRATTEN 



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AN ENQUIRY INTO FILM CENSORSHIP 





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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 

The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. Telephone: GERRARD 2366. 
Advertisement Office: 5 and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON, W.C. 1 . Telephone: HOLBORN 4972. 



Volume Four: Number Nineteen JANUARY — FEBRUARY, 1939 Price Ninepence 

THIS FREEDOM 

An Enquiry into Film Censorship 

by GEORGE H. ELVIN 

(In this provocative article the General Secretary of the Association of Cine-Technicians raises points about film 
censorship which vitally affect the growth, power and prestige of the film industry. What are your views! 

— Editors) 



WHEN nearly three years ago technicians saw- 
fit to reply to a statement of Lord Tyrrell's, 
A.C.T. was told by some of the trade 
and lay press to mind its own business. 
Perhaps "The Relief of Lucknow" incident will 
convince those critics that censorship is very much 
the concern of technicians, a large number of whom were 
deprived of their Xmas dinner through the latest action 
of the British Board of Film Censors. 

But apart from industrial reactions we cannot agree 
that those who make films should not be permitted to 
express an opinion on what is allowed to go into and what 
is cut out from film productions. There are other matters, 
too, tied up with freedom in the film industry of which 
the Twentieth-Century Fox — Film Renter controversy is 
a recent example. 

To return to Lord Tyrrell. He said at the C.E.A. 
Conference in 1936 that nothing would be more calculated 
to arouse the passions of the British public than the 
introduction on the screen of subjects dealing with 
religious or political controversy. A.C.T. summed up 
its attitude in a resolution taking grave exception to Lord 
Tyrrell's views and stating that while holding "no brief 
for any particular political belief whatsoever, it must 
sternly resist any tendency to deprive those working in the 
field of cinematography of the right which they should 
enjoy as British citizens, the right of expression in their 
chosen field of any view not inconsistent with the law. 
The attempt to limit the function of cinematography ex- 
clusively to 'entertainment' is outside the province and 
duties of censorship ; if successful, it will establish the 
cinema, per sc. as inferior in social value to literature and 
the other arts, and thereby degrade the status of technicians 
who devote their lives to it. 

The elimination from cinematograph subject material 
of every controversial question deprives the cinema of the 
possibility of playing any useful part in the life of the 



nation, and will have the effect of holding it at that 
nickelodeon level from which the skill of generations of 
technicians has raised it to the heights of an art unlimited in 
potentiality. The underlying assumption that British 
audiences arc incapable of witnessing material with "which 
they disagree without riot is, further, an insult to the British 
people which, as citizens, the Council (of the A.C.T.) must 
strongly repudiate." 

FUNCTION OF THE CENSOR 

The British Board ot Film Censors is not an official 
body, i.e.. it is neither set up nor directly controlled by 
the Government. It is appointed by the exhibiting side 




Lord Tyrell, The Film Censor 



L42 



THE CINE - TECHNIC] A N 



Jun. Feb., 1089 



of the trade. Its function (according to To-Day' i Cinema) 
is "to see that nothing gets on the screen to which any- 
body can bake exception. The primary object is the box- 
office one of not allowing any patrons to be offended in 
any way." To- Day's ('iiicnni went on to say thai 
the task of keeping twenty million people entertained 
even week without anybody taking umbrage is a stupen- 
dous one. 1 should say it is! Does anyone really believe 
that this is what the Censor tries to do'.' If so, there 

would be very few films receiving his certificate. For 
example, take "Climbing High," the latest Jessie Mat- 
thews film. Alastair Sim spends most of his screen time 
buffooning a communis! and saying "Lenin, Master." 
lie is typed as a physical coward, work-shy and a gibberer 
iif phrases which the less intelligent members ol the 
populace associate with those who hold a certain brand 
ol political beliel. Would the Censor have passed the 
scenes if instead ot a communist we had a fascist'.' And 
instead of "Lenin. () Master" he said "Hitler, My 
Leader'.'" There being far less fascists than communists 
in this country the offence caused would be much less. 
Yet, somehow 1 don't think it would have got through. 

1 1 ere are a few examples of the working of the censor- 
ship. First, there is the prize incident of the French 
film directed by Germaine Dulae, entitled "The Sea- 
Shell and the Clergyman." This was submitted to the 
British Hoard of Film Censors, and was totally rejected. 
The reason given on the rejection form was "This film is 

so obscure as to be apparently meaningless, but if it has 
any meaning, it is doubtless an objectionable one." 

Butcher's made a film called "Variety" a few years 
ago. One of the scenes was a music-hall of the nineties 
in which girls were dancing the can-can. This was 
objected to at least, when the girls kicked their legs 
right up. And yet similar scenes have appeared, and been 
passed, in American and Continental films and in at least 
one English film. There was, of course, a similar case 
more recently in the British Commercial Gas Association's 
"New Worlds for Old," when all shots of the can-can 
dance had to be deleted as they were "too erotic to be 
shown in this country." The producers, however, had 
the last laugh on the Censor when at the preview they 
added a title before the film reporting the cuts, and 
rhythmically blacked out the offending sections. Each 
time the girls raised their legs, consequently, the screen 
modest k w ent blank, thereby causing hearty amusement 
to the audience. 

Less than a year ago an A.C.T. member submitted 
a documentary film to the B.B.F.C. He was summoned 
into the presence and the conversation went something 
like this : 

A.C.T. member: "Why was the scene of a 'd-oman 
feeding her child at the breast deleted}" 

Official: "We'll ask the person who viewed the film/' 

(Entry of second official). 

Why did ice object to that scene, Miss V 

Lady official: "Oh, but we always object to that sort 
of scene." 

A.C.T. member: "But we took great care, with the 
position of the camera and the child's head, to ensure 
it was unobjectionable." 

First official: (embarrassed) .... "was there much 
exposure ? " 

Lady Official: "Oh no, not at all. I quite liked the 
scene myself." 

And the scene was saved. 
II the above is typical (and T gather it is) the Censors 
don't exercise their judgment but merely work to a set of 
arbitrary rules. 




Brooke W ilkinson, Secretary to the B.B.F.C. 



HOW TO IMPROVE THE CENSORSHIP 

While discussing the matter recently with Adrian 
Brunei, he gave me the following practical and construc- 
tive criticisms. If accepted they would go a long way 
to remedy the present farcical position and I gladly pass 
them on. 

In the first place there should be a Third Certificate. 
The present "A" certificate does not answer the objec- 
tions of the Censor's critics, for children and young 
people can see these films if accompanied by an adult. 
If we had three certificates, the "A" could really be for 
Adults Only and should at least give us the same freedom 
as they have on the stage; the second category or "B" 
certificate would replace the existing "A", that is for 
all persons over sixteen; and the third certificate would 
be the "Universal." 

Brunei's second point was a suggested time limit for 
the Censor's certificate or banning of a film. Times 
change and we change, even if we don't progress; what is 
passed to-day on the stage would never have been passed 
in our fathers' time, or even in our own younger days. 
A film submitted to the B.B.F.C. to-day may obtain a 
"U" certificate after various excisions detrimental to the 
picture have been made ; but if the certificate were to 
expire in three years' time, the film, if good enough, 
could be re-submitted in its original form and at least 
suffer fewer excisions. 

Some countries are already thinking along these lines. 
In Hungary and Roumania, for example, some while ago 
there was a regulation that the validity of the Censor's 
certificate expired in 10 years and 5 years respectively 
(too long, certainly, but a move in the right direction). 
On the other hand the Russian Government decreed some 
years ago that a certificate was only valid for eight 
months. 

Something at least must be done. The B.B.F.C. as 
at present constituted is a menace to British films. The 
cinema to-day is inferior in social value to literature and 
the other arts. Oliver Stanley said in the House of 
Commons during the Films Act debates that he wanted 
"the world to be able to see British films true to British 
life, accepting British standards, and spreading British 
ideals." While Mayfair drawing-room dramas are the 
only safe bet to get past the Censor. Mr. Stanley's hope 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



H3 



will never be fulfilled. There have not been a dozen 
British productions of any special value. The Censor can- 
not be entirely absolved from blame for this tragic 
position. 

A SECRET CENSORSHIP 

There is one feature of the Censor's work which 
should not go unchallenged. It tries, in effect, to be a 
secret censorship. The B.B.F.C. tries to persuade firms 
submitting films on no account to publicise "cuts" or to 
use even their legal rights of appeal under the Law to 
include licensing authorities. Actually their form of 
contract tried to bind firms submitting films to an under- 
taking in this respect, but they have heen forced to alter 
this and there is now a revised form of contract. 

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION 

In dealing with freedom in films. 1 must not over- 
look the control which advertisers exercise, or attempt to 
exercise, over film criticism. A short while ago I met a 
well-known trade critic returning iron: a press show.. I 
enquired what the films w ere like. He replied : "Terrible." 
I told him I hoped he would sa\ so. "What," he coun- 
tered, "when the firms have eight pages ot advertisement 
in tomorrow's issue." The films were duly praised. 

The matter has recently come to a head in an inter- 
view between Francis Harley, Managing Director of 
Twentieth-Century Fox. and "Tatler" of the Daily Film 
Renter. Fortunately "Tatler" also happens to be the 
managing editor of the paper. 'I he trouble started on 
December 7th when Twentieth -Century Fox informed 
flic advertising department ol that paper that they wished 
to cancel an advertisement scheduled to appear the fol- 
lowing day. After fruitless efforts to contact the people 
concerned, "Tatler" was summoned the next daj to see 
.Mr. Harley and was informed that lie Would have to pa\ 
the penalty for criticising certain oi the company's 
productions, and particularly lor approving the B.B.C. 
film critic's comments on a recent film. The "penalty" 
would be no advertisements for ninety days, a serious 




matter for a trade paper. According to the Daily Film 
Renter, Mr. Harley said he would deal with all adverse 
criticism in similar fashion. "This would mean," the 
paper continued, "that every picture reviewed by the Daily 
— every executive move — every change of policy — must 
receive the plaudits of the Press — or else." "Tatler" 
continues: "The very people who complain against 
interference in their own activities are now prepared 
ruthlessly to attempt to bludgeon a policy of constructive 
criticism offered by the B.B.C. and approved by me. 
Boiled dow n, the issue is this — say Yes to everything and 
you're all right. Dare to say No — and the blackjack. 
I've known a few surprising things in this trade in my 
time, but in this year of 1938 this is something entirely 
new. However, it's refreshing — and I'll promise Mr. 
Harley this —that if he thinks he can muzzle this paper, 
or my pen. with big-stick intimidation of this character, 
he's made the greatest mistake in his life." 

I'm glad Twentieth-Century F'ox picked on someone 
who has had the courage to stand up to them and has 
made such a strong plea for just freedom of expression. 

POLITICAL CENSORSHIP 

In spite of denials in the House of Commons that 
there is any form of Government censorship I don't think 
it will be difficult to write about it. The position is all 
very neatly summed up in a recent conversation between 
a. representative of this paper and an official of the Home 
Office, where we asked our representative to go in serrch 
of the low-down. 

He was told that there was no censorship but, of 
course, producers and newsreel chiefs were always wel- 
come to seek advice from a Government department. 
"There never has been any censorship" our representative 
was told. "Never?" queried our interviewer. "What 
about during the war?" "There was no censorship then" 
came the reply. "Newspapers could, of course, submit 
their cop\ to us and we might tender certain advice, but 
the\ need not take it. Of course, if they didn't there was 




Passed bv the Censor 



in 



CHE CIS E - TECHNICIAN 



Jan. -Feb., L989 



always the Defence of the Realm Act." Which is all 
very typical of something or oilier and for the; purpose 
,,1 this article I don't think the term "censorship" is en- 
tirely out of place. 

Further, although the British Board of Film Censors 
is a trade organisation it is generally accepted that there 
is elose eontaet between (iovernment Departments and 
tl, ;( t body. The recent statement that the B.B.F.C. 

could hold out no hope of a certificate being granted 
to the proposed production of "The Relief of Lueknow 

bears this out. Lord Tyrrell's official statement said that 
has been advised by all the authorities 
the Government of India, both civil and 
in their considered opinion such a film 

iries of the days of conflict in India, 
lie earnest endeavour of both countries 
i view to promoting harmonious co- 
lic two peoples, 
t's a pity this policy was not in force when "The 
Drum" was made, a film which was banned by the 
.Madras (iovernment. has caused protests to the Indian 
National Congress and led to pickets advocating 
boycott of the film being placed outside Bombay cinemas. 
Some of these pickets were arrested, and armed police, it 
seded to protect the patrons. There 



••the B.B.F.C. 
responsible lor 

military, that 
would revive b 
which it lias been tli 
to obliterate, with 
operation between 



is all 



eeed, were 



have been protest meetings and processions against a 
picture which it is claimed libels India. 1 am told the 
script of "The Relief of LucknOW" w as an entirely different 
affair and was devoid of the flag-waving imperialistic 
faults of "The Drum." Is this correct, Lord Tyrrell? 
And if so, did that have something to do with the banning 
of the production? 

The tendency during the past lew years has been to 
censor or ban films criticising certain aspects of Govern- 
ment policy and. on the other hand, to impose no restric- 
tions on films supporting Government policy. For 
example, in 1985 the Censor was diffident to grant a 
certificate to a film made b\ the Peace Pledge Union on 
the grounds that it might lead to disturbances. On the 
other hand there was no action in connection with the 
Territorial Army Recruiting film made for Oscar Deutsch 
the follow in» year and which has been shown in nearly 
a thousand cijrieinas. I contend that the one film is no 
more likely to lead to disturbances than the other. The 
two films, broadly speaking, represent two contrasting 
views, each held by a large section of the British public. 
If pacifists are allowed the opportunity of causing a distur- 
bance by picketing cinemas showing a territorial army 
film, then I feel people who have no time lor pacifists 
should not be denied a similar right. Or, on the other 




CMSMA SITUATtON 

"Sotty ,boy6, but the censor u>ont^ 
pass 1fie"Se'i££ of Lucknou)" scenario— 
mi£ht offend India. So just change 
m1o "these Norman helmets and 'joe'll 
rmke it AjJilliam the (bnqueror ujhoppin^lbe English . 



Courtesy : Low and ''The Evening Standard 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



14r, 



hand, it the Censor is of the opinion that Mr. Deutsch's 
film won't cause a disturbance, then by exactly the same 
reasoning a Peace Pledge Union film should be granted 
a certificate. 

Trade Union matters, too, are now receiving atten- 
tion. John Grierson recently had to cut from one of his 
films (not in this case at the instigation of the Censor) a 
speech about the Tolpuddle martyrs and the right to 
unionise. It was interpreted as a special plea for the 
Labour Party and John Grierson said that as a strictly 
non-party maker of films he could not risk an accusation 
ot that sort. The German film industry has decayed 
largely through the operation of such a one-track mind. 
The British industry will follow in the same way if this 
sort of attitude continues. 

"The Ma nit of Time" is. of course, the main 
sufferer from the Censor's scissors, so much so that it is 
closing down as far as a permanent production organisa- 
tion in this country is concerned. Whatever one's views 
of the subject matters of this production no-one can 
gainsay that it has raised the value and prestige of the 
cinema by straight portrayals of social topics of prime 
concern 4 > every citizen and cinema-goer. 
THE NEWSREELS 

The newsreels are another problem. The Censor has 
no control over them. But it is obvious that indirectly, 
if not directly, very great pressure is at times exercised. 
I should particularly like to hear the answer to Mr. 
Herbert Morrison's question of the Prime Minister in 
the House of Commons recently. Mr. Morrison asked: 
"Would the Prime Minister make enquiries as to whether 
the heads of his own political party have not had a hand 
in this unofficial censorship?" No reply was given. 

Eeaders will remember the Paramount newsreel at 
the time of the crisis featuring discussions between 
Wickham Steed, late editor of The Times, and A. J. 
Cummings of the News-Chronicle and between Cummings 
and Herbert Hodge. They were suddenly withdrawn after 
the first day of release. 

Alter dogged persistence by Mr. Mander and other 
members of Parliament, we have had an admission that 
the Foreign Secretary spoke to the American Ambassador 
who spoke to the managers of the Paramount Company 
who then withdrew the offending feature. The Home 
Secretary who made the statement continued blandly to 
say "there was no censorship and no undue pressure." 
What, I should like to ask, would have happened if the 
Paramount Company had not responded to this friendly 
talk? And what is "due" pressure? 

Part of the trouble is, of course, with the newsreel 
companies themselves. The majority of their executives 
are government supporters and their newsreels naturally 
tend to reflect that fact. (The Honours Lists are begin- 
ning to reflect it. too). It is all the more surprising 
that when they occasionally give expression to a con- 
trary view for one reason or another the reel is sometimes 
censored or withdrawn. 

And it the newsreel companies follow the lead given 
by the B.B.F.C. and are afraid of disturbances, why their 
continued shots of Hitler and Mussolini? Seldom do T 
see a newsreel featuring either of these two dictators but 
someone or other in the audience gives them "the bird." 

The newsreel companies should remember they are 
news reels and not propaganda sheets. They should pro- 
vide news to appeal to their patrons as a whole and not 
let their reels be determined by the private interests of 
their owners or the feelings of officialdom. There is a 
recent example of the newsreel companies' prejudice 



overriding news value. Over seven thousand people were 
at Victoria Station to welcome the return from Spain 
of the British battalion of the International Brigade. 
Newspapers described the scene as the most moving and 
dramatic since the end of the Great War. No newsreel 
company covered the event. There would be no cine 
record at all but lor the action of A.C.T. and E.T.U. 
members and the generosity of a number of firms who, 
realising the importance of the occurrence and the events 
w hich inspired the recruitment of the Brigade, gave their 
services to the International Brigade Dependents and 
Wounded Aid Committee. 
SUB-STANDARD* 

I have dealt so far with the 35mm. film. A brief 
reference should, however, be made to the sub-standard 
position. The provisions of the 1909 Cinematograph Act 
do not apply to non-inflammable film, and sub-standard 
stock provides a medium for showing films on unlicensed 
premises. Political, religious, educational and other 
bodies consequently use non-inflammable films for shows 
which would not be possible if the safety and other regula- 
tions of the Cinematograph Act had to be complied with. 
The Censor also, being a trade nominee, has no authority 
over such films. 

There is a growing agitation in some quarters for 
regulation and control over exhibition of sub-standard 
films. It is not primarily associated with public safety 
but, in my opinion, is due to fear of competition being 
off. ■red to established cinematograph interests, and an 
effort to restrict the use of the screen for propaganda. 
(Working-class organisations, for example, could not show 
films if such regulations applied. They could not afford 
the expense which would be necessary to bring the pre- 
mises now used for the exhibition of sub-standrd films 
into line with regulations similar to those of the Cine- 
matograph Act, and, of course, they could not afford — 
even if the cinema owner was willing — to hire a com- 
mercial cinema for a show to a restricted audience). 

Everybody recognises the need for adequate safe- 
guards, particularly where inflammable material is con- 
cerned. But there is no more risk at a non-inflammable 
show than at other functions such as concerts, whist 
drives or even a magis lantern show. The question of 
audience safety clearly does not arise. 

It is good to hear that the sub-standard Cinemato- 
graph Association is taking the matter up and is asking 
the Home Office to receive a deputation on the matter. 
PROTECT OUR THREATENED FREEDOM 

Wickham Steed, in his recent book, The Press, said 
"It is freedom to criticise that is essential to liberty in 
civilised communities, or as a distinguished British civil 
servant put it, not long ago, it is the right to tell the 
Government to go to Hell. Without it there can be no 
guarantee of personal freedom and no certainty of pro- 
gress, no protection against the arbitrary whims of fallible 
dictators and no effective exercise of private judgment." 

"Tatler" applied this theme to the screen press when 
writing in The Daily Film Renter recently. He said there 
is in the British film industry "an extraordinary weak- 
ness and tendency to give way to the smallest suggestion 
that a scene — whether it be in a newsreel or a production 
— doesn't commend itself in high political quarters. . . 
Generally there's far too much desire displayed, whenever 
anybody lifts a finger hurriedly to placate what is sup- 
posed to be official distaste. I'd like to see Hollywood, 
and in a similar degree this industry, take a firmer 

*.SYc <j/.\-() ttic article "Civil Liberty" on page 162. 



1 1 



( IN E - T E C II X I C I A X 



Jan. Feb.. L939 



altitude. So far as I can sec you arc shot at from every 
direction, and the only thing to do if you know you're 
right — is to stick to it- and demand equality of freedom 
with the Press." 

The freedom of flic l'ress is another story. The 
National Union of Journalists, in conjunction with the 
National Council for Civil Liberties, have started a cam- 
paign to protect their threatened freedom. The 1 freedom 



oi the screen press, as well as the printed press, is at 

stake. As Wickham Steed says, "Freedom of speech 

depends ultimately on the- freedom of the l'ress — and 

to-day that freedom is being threatened more and more." 

Let all sections oi the trade act before it is too late, and 

freedom is travestied to mean— as it does in totalitarian 
countries — perfectly tree to elej exactly as you're told. 




DISTRIBUTION OF RUSSIAN FILMS 

TIh^ following information is to hand : — 
Twe-nty-one Sovie't films, including "The Youth of 
Maxim," and "Deputy of the Baltic." have been shown 
in thirty towns in France (Paris, Marseilles, Lyons, Nice, 
Boulogne, Bordeaux, etc.). In the principal towns of 
Czechoslovakia 22 Soviet films have' been shown, amongst 
I hem "We of K ronxtadt," "Cha payer," and "Peter the 

Great.*' 

Tn Denmark 13 Soviet films were shown during the' 
month of August ; iu Norway, 18; in Sweden, 13; in Eng- 
land, 5; in Bulgaria, 5 J and in Afghanistan, 3. During 
that month .'51 Soviet films were shown in the Unite'el 



States, amongst them "Lenin in October," "The Return of 
Ma rim." "Deputy of the Baltic." "Peter the Great," and 
'// N ar Should Come. 

William Dieterl. director of "Zola" and "Pasteur " 
says that "Peter the Great" is the best historical film that 
he has ever seen. 

American spectators, it is claimed, show great interest 
in Soviet productions. Cinemas which show Soviet films 
have sold more' seats during 1937-38. Four hundred and 
fifty cinemas showed Sovie't films, while in the- same 
period onlj 100 cinemas showed French films, 40 cinemas 
Hungarian films, and 20 cinemas Scandinavian films. 



Jan 



—Feb., 1939 



T H E C 1NE- T E CH NIC] A N 



BIG SCREEN TELEVISION 

THE Armistice ceremony is not b\ any means an 
ideal subject for Television. It is too static. One 
i'elt relieved when someone finally did move. Apart 
from this for the moment, however, it really seems 
unfair to criticise at the birth of such an incredible inven- 
tion. 

I he primary fault seemed to be the distortion all 
round the edges oi the picture. This would presumably 
be caused by the projection from a convex surface (the 
screen end of the Cathode Ray Tube is convex) on to a 
fiat screen, it might be eliminated 1>\ having the screen 
slightly concaved, though this would scarcely be satis- 
factory for the audience. 

Although weather conditions appealed to be excellent, 
it was a bright sunlit day. there was considerable inter- 
ference with long shots, rendering faces completely 
blank. This might have been caused by haze, or simply 
by the enlargement of the picture, anyway in order to 
find Chamberlain, it was necessary to " look for the man 
with the umbrella " — the only difficulty in this case being 
that they all had umbrellas. 

The sun in the lens proved a Little too much for the 
shot of Big Ben. which, o. course, could not be helped. 

Whenever we came into the close shots, however, 
the results were remarkable; those of the King were quite 
sharp, and the bald patch on the back of the Primate's 
head showed to great advantage. 

The screen was less than halt the si/.e of the regular 
Tatler screen so further enlargement at the present would 
seem to be impossible. But there has been improvement. 
About six years ago I witnessed, I think, the first public 



demonstration of projected Television. It was at the 
Metropole and the screen was about six feet high by two 
feet wide, a most awkward shape. 1 remember also being 
able to see the vertical lines through the picture — entirely 
absent in the present demonstration. 

Unfortunately, there was a lack of variety in angles, 
and thi' one long shot of the Cenotaph became very 
monotonous — forcing perhaps unfair criticism of the 
quality. Also, inevitable comparison with the newsreeJ 
caused the Television to suffer considerably. But on the 
whole the demonstration was no worse than that of an 
early film, and from this one can safely assume, I think, 
that in the not very distant future we shall be having 
regular Television in all cinemas. P.L.A. 



INTRODUCTION TO HOLLYWOOD 

(Continued from page 150) 

closest co-operation all-round, especially between the 
cameraman and the laboratory . 

I had the greatest admiration for the Consolidated 
Laboratories and its amiable Manager, Mr. Joe Aller. 
who made it possible lor me to view and study thoroughly 
this laboratory, which is in every respect ideal. 

It is not possible to relate in detail all my impres- 
sions and observations, gathered in the various Hollywood 
studios. Laboratories and camera factories, but 1 promise 
you an article for a later issue of The Gine-Technieian on 
the differences in Hollywood practice which interested 



May I wish you and all 
Prosperous New Year'.' 

Yours very 



A.C.T. members a 

sincerely, 

Otto Kanturek. 



Hi 



Model " D 



Auto Kinc Camera 



I NEWMAN- SINCLAIR! 

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Keflex Focussing with long and short eye-pieces permits of the Focussing of 
the image on the film in the gate of the camera. All lenses fitted with 
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148 



T 1 I E C I N E - T E C H N I C I A N 



Jan.— Feb., I98fl 



THREE THOUSAND PICTURES A SECOND 

by D. H. GEARY 



HERE is ;i marvellous creation of British camera 
engineering skill — a slow motion camera that 
w ill take 3,000 pictures a second. Constructed 
by Vinten, the camera is carrying out important 
investigations at a Government establishment, and two 
further models have been built. The camera was 
designed purely for research purposes, although it has 
its uses for documentary films. The enormous film speed 
precludes the use of any form of intermittent motion, 
and therefore the film must run continuously. In front 
of the gate is a duralumin ring, perfectly balanced, and 
mounted in this ring is a series of 48 matched lenses. 
The lens ring is geared to the film traction apparatus so 
that the peripheral speed of the axes of the 48 lenses is 
the same as the linear speed of the film. It will be seen 
from this fact that when the film and any given lens come 
opposite to the light aperture in the gate, the film and 
lens are relatively stationary. By this method full 
advantage is obtained of all light reflected from the object 
to be photographed. 



Between the film and the lens ring is an adjustable 
slit which acts as a variable shutter. The lenses employed 
are of 2in. focal length with an aperture of f 3.5. 

The focus is set at infinity by adjusting the position 
of the gate in respect to the lens. In order to enable the 
operator to photograph objects at any distance from three 
feet to infinity, a series of auxiliary spectacle lenses arc- 
supplied. These are marked for the various distances 
required, such as 58 inches. tOOin., 200in., and so on. 

These auxiliary lenses are inserted in a slide in front 
of the lens ring. It is obvious that as simple a film path 
as possible must be employed, so it is necessary to have 
large openings in the magazines. The magazines 
accommodate 400 feet of film and are so constructed that 
they must be in a closed position before the camera can 
be opened or closed. Owing to the high speed of the 
mechanism a special form of lubrication has been devised, 
b\ means of which oil is inserted to all moving parts 
under pressure. Of course, special precautions are taken 
to prevent the oil coming into contact with the film. It 
is also important to forecast the results which might 



MRCRZINE 



lcms Ring 




Cqntrp l 
Sprocket 



hold BnCH 

SPROCKET 



MRCRZINE 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 




obtain should tin film break in the camera. Owing to 
tile terrific speed at which the film is travelling, it is 
necessary to avoid fire through friction and to safeguard 
any such louse Him coming into contact with moving 
parts. To prevent this a device of special stripping plates 
has been incorporated as sprocket protection. 

The driving medium is 4 h.p. motor with heavy fly- 
wheel, the power being transmitted through a friction 
clutch and a 3-speed gear box. The camera and motor 
are set upon a cast iron bed plate, which in turn is 
mounted on an adjustable stand. The method ul 
operation is as follows: — 

1. The distance of the object to be photographed 
having been determined, the appropriate auxiliary 
lens is placed into position. 

2. The camera is then lined up on the subject by 
inserting a piece of matt film in the gate and view- 
ing through a prism at the side. 

3. The 400 feet magazines are then placed into 
position, the top one closed with a sufficient amount 
of Him left projecting through the trap, and the 
Camera is laced, the end of the film being attached 
to the take-Up bobbin. 

4. The doors are then closed and screwed tight which 
opens the magazine traps. An\ slack on the him is 
then taken up by means of the small knobs project- 
ing from the magazines for this purpose. 

The motor is started and the phenomenon to be 
photographed is commenced. The clutch handle is then 
gently bid firmly thrust info the running position and 
the photograph is taken. It is necessary in 
research work to determine precisely the speed at which 
the phenomenon photographed occurs. As a tachometer 
or similar speed recorder is not sufficiently accurate in 
a large number of cases, a special device is incorporated 
for registering the exact speed of the movement. This 
consists of a high tension spark focussed on the edge of 
tin' hbn just above the gate. This spark is controlled by 
means of a tuning fork operating the contact supplying 
the current to the high tension spark. It will thus be seen 

that should We, for example, have five spark marks in 
three frames, we can tell, knowing the tuning fork is 
regulated to 2,000 periods per second, that the frames 
have been taken at the rate of 1/1200 part of a second 
each frame. When observing phenomena photographed 



l>\ means oi this instrument it is of course possible, in 
the case oi a bullet passing a given object, to stop the 
projector and take an accurate measurement on the screen 
ol the distance between the travelling and static objects. 
Or again, in the case of mechanical phenomena such as 
valve bounces on an internal combustion engine, to 
determine the exact amount of bounce at a given period 
in the progression of the phenomenon. Should the 
phenomenon be of extreme speed, for example an 
explosion, the camera is fitted with a special device so 
arranged that immediately the him speed is obtained, 
the camera, through a series of electrical contacts, 
actuates the object to be photographed. 

To give some statistical idea of the terrific speed of 
the him in this instrument — at the normal camera speed 
ot 24 frames per second the film is travelling at a rate of 
1.800 yards or just over a mile per hour, whereas with 
this camera funning at its fastest speed the film is travel- 
ling at 128 m.p.h., just ore/- two miles per minute. 

This camera was exhibited at the recent Cinema 
Exhibition at the Royal Photographic Society. A model 
will shortly be available to]- hire from .Messrs W. Vinten. 
Ltd. 




THREE-DAY BATH FOR MADELEINE 

According to "The Daily Mirror," Madeleine Carroll 
has been having her till of a bathtub scene. 

"1 feel like a prune— all shrivelled up,"' she said. 
"The script Cor the him, 'Cafe" Society,' calls for me to 
take a bath — or rather for me to be pushed, with all my 
clothes on, into a tub of hot water by Fred MacMurrav. 

"] spent three full days in that tub. with and w ithout 
water, but mostly with- and mostly hot. Gradually m\ 
skin began to shrivel, and the longer I was in the water 
the more wrinkled 1 got. I thought the director would 
never be satisfied with the scene. Once he got so 
interested that he climbed in the tub with me -there was 
no water in it then. 

"Mr. MacMurray was in it, too, and there we all 
sat. discussing our problems." 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



-Tun. Kel)., 1930 



INTRODUCTION TO HOLLYWOOD 

A Letter from OTTO KANTUREK 



Dear Mr. Elvin, 

I should like to take the opportunity of expressing 
my sincere thanks to you, our Association, and Mi . Denis 
Wratten of Kodak Ltd. for the helpful Letters oi intro- 
duction, which were oi great value to me as they imme- 
diately brought me in touch with the right people. It is 
much easier to get into a secret organisation or into the 
palace ot an exotic ruler than into the major stud it s 
of Hollywood, especially if one is not there i'or business 
reasons, but wishes to study the working methods oi and 
view the biggest film centre of the world — HOLLYWOOD > 
— as a private individual. The General Sec retary o. the 
I.A.T.S.E., the most important Trade Union <>. the film 
industry in America, Mr. Herbert Aller, alter h iving lead 
your letter, immediately informed some of my old f.iends 
in Hollywood of my arrival there and took great pains 
to be oi assistance to me in every respect. 

My good friend, Ted Sparkuhl. the earner: man ol 
"Wells Fargo," "If I Were King," etc., arrived the next 
day to show me over the Paramount Studios, to which 
he has been under contract for some years. Furthermore, 
I was able to visit the M.G.M., Goidwyn U.A., Wan: sr 
and other Studios. It would take too long to describe 
to you every studio in detail but I would just like to 
mention a few things which impressed me very much. 
For instance, Warner Bros, and First National in Bur- 
bank are absolutely a town in themselves. Apart from 
the 24 stages, which in their extent are somewhat similar 
to those at Denham and Pinewood, there is an exterior 
lot which it takes 20 minutes to cover by car to sec the 
streets and squares, solidly built, ready for shooting. 
From Portland Place in London, one walks straight into 
one of the big boulevards of Paris, crosses streets in 
Vienna and Rome, and round the corner steps right 
into one of New York's avenues, seeing in the distance 
the canals of Venice. All these sets are true copies of 
the originals, dressed with every detail so that for the 
moment one is absolutely under the impression of seeing 
the real thing. Even the public telephone booths in the 
different streets and squares contain the telephone 
apparatus used in the respective countries and are — 
strange as it may seem — in working order, i.e., lifting 
the receiver, one gets the exchange of the studio, ready- 
to receive or give orders and messages during shooting 
on the lot. Lamps and electric advertisements are con- 
nected everywhere and in working order ; even the lamp 
stands in use or to be used are mounted, and all the 
cameraman has to do is to say what types or lamps are 
needed. The main cables, like street cables, are under 
the surface, a distribution truck is to hand, the respective 
contacts are connected, and the light lor "Day" or 
"Night" burns ! 

Hollywood's climatic conditions are, of course, so 
favourable that it is easy to keep such a lot in order. 

In the Goidwyn U.A. Studios, through which I was 
shown by my old pal Rudolf Mate, I was especially 
impressed by the tank in which all the difficult shots for 
the film "Hurricane" had been taken. This tank, with 
its waves, wind machines and enormous round horizon, 
is a masterpiece of technique, and it is hard to believe 
that one is not on one of the South Sea islands but in 
a studio on one of the main streets of Hollywood, the 
Santa Monica Boulevard. 

The easy but nevertheless expert organisation of the 




camera departments creates a strong impression. Every- 
where the same cameras, mainly Mitchells, the same- 
dolly trucks, and nearly always the same lenses. At the 
first moment it strikes one like a factory system but 
after giving the matter a little consideration, one comes 
to the conclusion that this standardising is a big advan- 
tage to the technician. There are no secrets as regards 
the cameras; on the contrary, as everyone is using the 
same type, suggestions for adjustments are exchanged 
amongst cameramen at the A.S.C. (the A.C.T. of Holly- 
wood), mutually criticised, mid i commended to the 
manufacturers, who work in close co-operation with the 
cameramen. This collaboration is responsible for that 
smooth and even finish, characteristic ot the best Ameri- 
can productions. The same applies to all new inventions, 
raw film, lamps, dollys, etc. Any new lens or soft gl S3 
appearing in the American market is known to every 
cameraman In Holly wood within three days, with all its 
advantages and disadvantages, through descriptions, 
lectures, experiments and practical results. 

Working methods are nearly the same as in Eng- 
land. The chief gaffer, working mostly for the same 
cameraman, knows exactly his technique and is there- 
fore able to prepare a set to such a stage of perfection 
that the cameraman need only add his personal touches, 
and can otherwise give his whole attention and time to 
the stars, who have their special privileges as regards 
cameramen. If a star is lent to another studio, not only 
the cameraman, but also the chief gaffer, in fact the 
whole camera unit, is hired out ;s well, a system which 
produces the best possible results. Everybody is 
familiar with each other's working methods, thus saving 
much time and experiment. The stars, too, do their 
utmost to assist the cameraman. In short there is the 
(Continued on page 147) 



QUESTIONAIRE. 

"THE CINE-TECHNICIAN" WANTS TO KNOW. 

1. Do you keep your copies of ' The Cine-Technician" '.' 

2. Which issue did you like best and why? 



o. Are you iu favour of there being an index to each issue? 
4. Do you think there are (a) too many illustrations? 



(b) not enough illustrations? 

[Strike through line which does }iot apply) 

">. (a) What are your preferences among the regular features'? (Please number 1, 2. 3, 4. in order oi 
preference) : — 

Lab. Topics Book Keviews 

Cinema Lo' r Technical Abstracts 



Pigswill's Page 



(b) Do you consider that any of these features should be removed? Jt so. indicate by drawing a line 
through it above. 

6. Which general type of article do you prefer? (Please number 1. 2, 3. 4, 5, b. 7 in order of preference]: 

Detailed Technical (e.g, Three New Segatives) 

General Technical (e.g., Shooting in Technicolour) 

Film Industry Topics (e.g., This Freedom) 

General Trade Union (e.g., Holidays With Pay) 

Individual Kxperienees (e.g., Slwoti)ig in Holland) 

Film Industry Abroad 

Historical (e.g., Evolution of Cinematography) 



7. Arc you in favour of more space being given to local studio and laboratory affairs? 

8. What new subjects do you consider should be introduced? 



9. What is your general opinion of "The Cine-Technician"? (Strike out those which do not apply): 

Excellent. Good. Fair. Had. Lousy. 

NOTE: You want the best possible magazine. So do we, Co-operate with us to get it. Answer the above 
questions. See that other members answer them. And forward the completed form to us NOW. 

Send it by post direct to the Editors, "The Cine-Technician," 145, Wardour Street, W.I., or 
through your local Secretary. 

THE EDITORS. 



Jan.— Feb.. 1935) 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



1 



HOLIDAYS WITH PAY 

AND AFTER 

Thousands and thousands of Trade Union members have 
benefited from the welcome extension of the Holidays with Pay 
movement. Thousands more will benefit this year. 

Many Union members receiving Holiday Pay will no 
doubt wish to take their families away with them for a week 
by the sea or in the country. To know that the whole family 
is enjoying a healthful holiday will in itself be a source of 
happiness and peace of mind. To have a family holiday — and 
indeed to have any holiday that is to be of maximum benefit 
—Union members will do wisely if they resolve to supplement 
their Holiday Pay by personal savings. 

Preparation for this year's holiday should be going on 
now, and the most convenient way of putting by a bit of 
money for it week by week is to join a NATIONAL SAVINGS 
HOLIDAY CLUB. Clubs of this kind have already been 
established in a large number of places of employment 
throughout the country, providing employees with a secure 
means of saving personally for holiday purposes. 

TRADE UNION OFFICIALS in a number of important 
industries are giving valuable support to this scheme which can 
obviously be of great service to Trade Union members. 

The National Savings Committee offers every assistance 
in the organisation of Holiday Savings Clubs, including the 
provision of a speaker to address prospective members and an 
explanatory circular letter for distribution. Membership cards, 
literature, etc., are supplied free. 

Enquiries should be addressed to the 
NATIONAL SAVINGS COMMITTEE 
(Ref.R 21A), LONDON, S.W.I. 



4^44444444444444444444444444444444444444444 



152 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Jan. Feb., 1989 



THE YEAR S CREDITS b y j neill -brown 



IN the Lives of the film technicians there can be but 
a minimum of events during V.)HH that stand out as 
of major importance. The great shadow of unemploy- 
ment lias darkened the whole horizon to such an extent 
that they may be forgiven if they have seen nothing that 
is deserving of recognition at all, let alone honourable 
mention. The; main events have been determined by the 
new Films Act, which, promising a new era in British 
Film production, gave us something with one hand and 
more than took it away with the other. But in so far 
as it has given us anything at all it may be worth examin- 
ing what that something is. 

In a recent examination of films shown in America 
the American Hoard of Review listed what it considered 
to be the best ten films of the year in the English language ; 
they were (with the British films shown in italics): "The 
Citadel," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. "Vetsel 
of Wrath," "Owd Bob," "Sing You Sinners," "Edge of 
the World," "Of Human Hearts," "Jezebel," "South 
Hiding." and "Three Comrades." Only a few weeks ago 
Stephen Watts in the "Sunday Express" gave his opinion 
on the ten best of the year and lists: "Snow White," 
"The Citadel," "Three Comrades." "Yank at Oxford," 
"You Can't Take It With You," "Nothing Sacred." 
"Pygmalion," "Slight Case of Murder," "Sixty Glorious 
Tears," and "South Riding." W ithout commenting on 
the respective merits of the two lists, it is worth noting 
that in both of them the five out of the ten are British, or 
putting the two lists together eight out of sixteen are 
productions made in th ; s country. Jn the American 
selection there is an even greater distinction in that 
(counting out "Snow White" as not being of the general 
type of studio production made with living artists) all 
of the first three normal films are British. In both 
selections pride of place is easily taken by "The Citadel," 
and "South Riding" ranks as ninth in the one and tenth 
in the other. 

While occasional British films have appeared in 
American lists from time to time, this must be the first 
year of our history in which such a large number have 
stood the test of transatlantic approval. Is it just a 
sudden and transient mood of the successful entrant in 
the race turning hack to help the lame dog over the 
style, or have they really deserved it? Do they represent 
the best qualities that Britain can put onto the screen 
or has it been such a phenomenally had year for America 
that we're only good by contrast with Hollywood at her 
worst? Are they, in the truest sense, British, made by 
British workers who really know this job of film pro- 
duction, or are they, as a member of Parliament in a 
speech in the course of the Films Act debates visualised 
they would he, Hollywood productions made on a distant 
location? Is Hollywood, faced with the legal obligations 
Di the Act, merely saving its face in England and its 
money in America ? 

Certainly from the appearance of the first of these 
films to be registered under the new Act we get a very 
strong affirmative to the last of these questions. "Tank 
at ford" was the nearest thing to a Hollywood pro- 
duction ever seen in this country. Officially produced 
by Michael Balcon, it was supervised by Ben Goetz from 
M.O.M.'s home studio, and the script was developed 
from an idea by J. Monk Saunders, also American. T 



understand that Frances Marion worked on the script 
too, and that much of it was actually done by M.O.M.'s 
scenario department in America. Tin; three main artists 
were Robert Taylor, Lionel Barrymone (both U.S.A.) and 
Maureen 0' Sullivan (Irish hut regarded as a Hollywood 
product). Director Jack Conway, cameraman Hal 
RoBBOn, and supervising editor Margaret Booth were also 
iiom America, and all these artists, technicians, and 
supervisors taken together certainly Seemed to justify the 
prognostications of the member of Parliament already 
quoted. But this was the company's first attempt at 
making a super film in England, and to a certain extent 
they were entitled to take all reasonable precautions. 
The technical credit list of their second film, "The 
Citadel," shows how they profited from their first ex- 
perience, having only one foreign artist. Rosalind Russell, 
and two foreign technicians. King Vidor the director and 
Harry Stiadling the cameraman. Victor Saville pro- 
duced, Ian Dalrymplc was responsible for the script. 
Lazare MeerSOn (Russian hut naturalised English) was art 
director, ('. 0. Stevens recorded, Charlie Frcnd cut it and 
Pen Tennyson was first assistant director. All of them 

except Saville and Yidor were members of the A.C.T. 
All of them were people who had worked for years in 
our studios, quietly and effectively learning the business, 
and it is very gratifying to find that at long last they 
receive the credit that is their due. Take the case of only 
one of them, Charlie Freud, which illustrates most of 
them. He went to B.I. P. many years ago as an assistant, 
and went through the usual routine of the job before he 
was entrusted with a picture of his own. hut when he 
did do his first picture it was a very creditable job. Fol- 
lowed a long spell in which he was given almost all types 
of pictures to work on, cheap comedies, musicals, dramas, 
and so forth, some good, some not so good. But he 
gained the experience that entitled him to be described 
as one of our best cutters, and it is with great pleasure 
that we see his name as editor of what has been taken 
by every critic and trade paper to be the best picture of 
the year. In this connection the congratulations of the 
A.C.T. go to all our members who worked on this very 
fine film in whatever capacity, exalted or humble. It 
demonstrates what we have for so long maintained — that 
there are plenty of British technicians in this country 
who are capable of doing the best work in the world, 
comparable with that of any foreigner. We are glad that 
in their latest film. "Mr. Chips," M.G.M. have gone even 
one better in the matter of staff and have appointed an 
English cameraman, Freddie Young. 

Reviewing the remainder of the best pictures of the 
year we again note that in "Vessel of Wrath" all the 
key positions except those of director (Erich Pommer) 
and cameraman (Jules Kruger) were filled by English- 
men ; in "Owd Bob" there was not even one foreigner 
and the director himself was a member of A.C.T. ; in 
"Edge of the World," of which we have written much in 
the past, both cast and crew were English and the latter 
were again our members; "South Riding" had Harry 
Stiadling as its sole representative from abroad and again 
with the exception of Victor Saville. producer and direc- 
tor, we had a 100% A.C.T. crew; "Pygmalion" we have 

{Continued at foot of next column) 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



153 



THE ANGLO-AMERICAN TRADE AGREEMENT 

The Anglo-American Trade Agreement has been 
signed. There is no mention of the film industry apart 
from the stabilisation of present duties on film by ten 
of the British colonies. But that does not necessarily 
mean that the industry was overlooked in the discussions 
concerning the pact. It will he remembered that during 
the Films Bill debates a Government spokesman denied 
that the forthcoming trade pact with America had in 
any way influenced the terms of the Bill. Other people 
thought differently and it seemed ominous that the new- 
American Ambassador appointed to London about the 
time negotiations were started was a former motion 
picture executive. 

Readers may have heard Raymond Gram Swing's 
broadcast from Washington on November 19th. when he 
referred to very important meanings beyond the actual 
deal. "One is," the Listener reports Mr. Swing as saying, 
"that it begins to untie the Ottawa system. . . . When 
the Ottawa system wi s set up, and Britain and the Com- 
monwealth began making a self-contained and semi- 
exclusive economic Empire, it was the Americans more 
than any other people who paid the price tor it." The 
first quota Act emerged directly from the Ottawa 

Imperial Conference. Were the low quota rates in the 
new Films Act the price which had to be paid for the 
new trade agreement? We cannot feel entirely con- 
vinced by the Government denials. 



THE YEAR'S CREDITS 

(Continued from previous pngc) 

written o'i so often that we need hardly remind you of 
its A.C.T,. character or of the fact that, like "South 
Riding," its only foreign technician was Stradling; "Sixty 
Glorious Years" is again a triumph for English staff, 
being all-British in its key positions, although more may 
have been contributed to it by .Merrill White than is 
indicated by bis official description of "adviser" on the 
cutting. In only one of these eight films is there a 
case of a picture being made without members of this 
union taking the principal positions, and exclusive of the 
few foreigners all but three of the remainder have been 
members for a long time. 

Although it was made in England the "Yank at 

0. rford" appeared on our screens with the stamp of the 

1. A.T.S.E. in the corner. This stamp is used by the 
American producers when the labour conditions conform 
to the requirements of the local union, the International 
Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees. It seems 
a little unfair to stick this stamp on a picture made in 
this country, but it has a significance for us that ought 
not to be missed. The American employer recognises 
the position and standing of his employees, he puts it 
on the film for everyone to see that they are members 
of their appropriate organisation. It gives those tech- 
nicians the satisfaction of knowing that their employer 
realises that they are more than just people who do the 
necessary job and are then forgotten; they are qualified 
workers with the right to the terms and conditions that 
their organisation demands. The stamp is more than a 
mere insignificant reference to the existence of the union ; 
it is a guarantee of the standing of the men and women 

(Continued at foot of next column) 



LOUDON'S REASONS FOR THE DEPRESSION 

.Mr. Norman Loudon, Chairman of Sound City (Films) 
Ltd., in his speech at the company's recent Annual 
General Meeting, attributed the depression in British 
film production to four principal causes. The first was the 
\\ ithdraw al of insurance finance. Sufficient films had been 
made to fulfil renters' quota but much more of the money 
had had to be found by the renters themselves than in 
previous years. While some of the larger exhibitors had 
also made films, the total volume of British production 
had fallen considerably, and, Mi - . Loudon thought, would 
remain low until finance continued to flow more freely 
into British production channels. 

Secondly, the reduction of the renters' quota from 
20% to 1")%, to compensate the renters for the increased 
cost of such films, had reduced production requirements 
by 25%. 

Thirdly, the delay in the passing of the Films Act 
meant that not until April 1st, 1938, could renters make 
plans for the year which started on that date, resulting 
in a loss of three months — the normal time between com- 
mencement of production and registration. Hence, renters 
of foreign films had complied with the Act by making 
films under the double and treble quota clauses. The 
speaker thought, however, that these renters would, before 
long, revert to the practice, which they perfected during 
the currency of the old Act, of complying with their 
li gal obligations for the smallest possible outlay of money. 

The fourth reason instanced was the wave of 
"re-issues" following a decline in American production. 
This benefited the renters both in direct income and in 
reducing their quota requirements, since they only had 
to find British films to offset their new foreign films. (It 
was not pointed out, however, that this meant less work 
for all grades of studio employees, in America as well 
as here). 

Mr. Loudon added that he saw some hope for the 
future in the increasing renters' quota percentages and 
in the fact that, under the cost clauses, most films would 
cost about twice as much as previously, so that more 
time would probably be spent on making them. The 
exclusion from renters' quota of films made in the 
Dominions and Colonies would also help, while, if the 
Americans reduced their imports in order to cut their 
quota obligations, again there would probably be a larger 
distribution for British pictures in this country. 



THE YEAR'S CREDITS 

{Continued from previous column) 

who worked on that film. Practically every one of the 
eight pictures 1 have spoken about in this article have 
been made with A.C.T. labour in the key technical posts 
and two of the directors are also members. I sincerely 
hope that the day will come when British films will bear 
an A.C.T. stamp on the credit titles that will show to 
the trade in particular and the world in general that such 
film was made under what we regard as good conditions 
and that the people mentioned on the technical credit 
list were paid wages consistent with the responsibility 
of their jobs. We must have agreements first as to 
those good conditions and fair wages, but when we have 
got that, let us have the public recognition that we 
deserve. 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN Jan. Feb., 1989 

CINEMA LOG By KENNETH GORDON 



The Workers' Film Association 

The end of 1938 saw the launching of the Workers' 

Film Association, at a conference and Mini display at 

Transport House presided over by Mr. EL E. Elvin, 
Chairman of the National Joint Film Committee. 

The purpose of this Association, which is under the 
management of Alderman Joseph Reeves and has its 
offices in the same building as A.C.T., 14"). Wardour 
Street, W.l, is to advise the democratic movements on 
film production, to establish a Central Library of films 
illustrating Labour's aims and objects, and to act as 
agents of all recognised film libraries in this country, so 
that film ( xhibitions can be given b\ Labour, Trade Union 
and Co-operative movements, with, I am sure, excellent 
propaganda results. Sub-standard sound projectors can 
lie hired or obtained on simple hire purchase terms from 
the Association, and some hire rates of talking films are 
as low as 5/— per reel. 

The Workers' Travel Association have already had a 
number of films made of their activities, including 
"Let's Have a Holiday" (Strand films). "'Across the 
Border," "Mediterranean Journey," and "Passport to 
Europe" (Realist Film Unit). 

The new Association was responsible for a film which 
was shown at the display, called "Advance Democracy," 
sponsored by the London Co-operative Societies' Joint 
Education Committees and produced by Ralph Bond for 
the sum of £000. This is the first of a series of five to 
be made for this body. Quite a good film, but in mj 
opinion one that would onlj appeal to the converted. 
Surely these films should be made to convert the middle- 
class to the cause of Labour. "Advance Democracy" 
would, in my opinion, tend to put their backs up. Pro- 
viding the W.F.A. keeps clear of the amateur and 
remembers that propaganda must be subtle and not 
blatant, I think the establishment of the Workers' Film 
Association one of the finest moves of the Trades Union 
Congress has made towards modern propaganda. We 
look forward to seeing a fleet of mobile projectors to en- 
liven street meetings, and we wish Manager Joseph 
Eeeves the very best of luck in this important venture. 
His know ledge of production and exhibition for the Royal 
Arsenal Co-opertive Society gives him the very necessary 
qualifications. I believe that the W.F.A. will only 
advise and negotiate for production at present, but as 
time goes on it may one day run its own production units, 
both in the 35 m.m. and 1() m.m. fields. 

You're Telling Us, Mr. Golden! 

That American pictures were the bread and butter 
of foreign exhibitors and that excessive nationalistic 
propaganda by foreign Governments through the medium 
of motion pictures is likely to arouse increasing irritation 
and resentment on the part of movie-goers abroad, was a 
statement made by Nathan D. Golden, chief of the Motion 
Picture Division of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic 
Commerce, at a conference in New York recently. He 
stated that 70 to 80 per cent, of the world's screen time 
is occupied by American films, and that 40 per cent, of 
all revenues received by American film producers for their 
products are derived from foreign markets. "During the 
first nine months of the present year," he said, "not less 
than 14o million feet of American motion pictures were 
rn to foreign countries . . . Europe being by far the best 



market in point of dollars and cents returned, and Latin 
America the best measured by footage consumption." 

The main problems of the American film industry 
to-day, in his view, are foreign government restrictions, 
high taxes, exchange control, tightening censorship, and 

a growing national tendency to coddle local film industries 
abroad. Directing attention to various foreign censorial 
idiosyncrasies. Mr. Golden mentioned that all kissing 
scenes are prohibited in Japan, spy plots are banned in 
Rem. any film suggesting cruelty to animals is taboo in 
England, and Greece bans movies that are even remotely 
connected with movements of social revolt (even the 150- 
year-old French Revolution is barred). He did not mention 
political censorship, but no doubt The March < t f Time could 
mark his cards. 

Where To Spend Holidays With Pay 

To those young people who have holidays about 
August 5th to 20th, a trip to the North of France at a 
cost not exceeding t(j for a fortnight, inclusive of fare 
from London, seems a very exceptional offer. The London 
Youth Council of the National Union of Clerks proposes 
to organise an International Youth T.C Camp near Paris. 
If you are interested let the ACT. office know at once. 

Ccle For Parliamentary Honours 

Sidney Cole, the well-known cine-technician, and one 
of the Associate Editors of this Journal, has been adopted 
as the prospective Labour candidate for St. George's. 
Westminster. He will oppose Duff Cooper in the coming 
General Election. 

I am sure we all w ish him well, whatever our per- 
sonal politics may be. It will be a tough fight but 
then Sid Cole is a tough lad, and the more representation 
our industry can have in the "House" the less likeli- 
hood there is for stupid legislation to be passed to affect 
adversely the lives of cinema workers. 

Shaw Jones Marches On 

Shaw Jones, the Newman Camera expert, has opened 
new and extensive premises at 59, Shaftesbury Avenue, 
W.l, known as the London Photographic Centre, 
where besides running his cine camera hire service he 
has a number of ultra modern darkrooms, fitted with 
sinks, dishes, enlargers, etc., in which photographers can 
carry out tests, experiments, or develop and print their 
stills. Each of these darkrooms is fitted with its own 
telephone for the convenience of clients. 

The services also include the use of drying cabinets, 
glazing machines, trimmers, thermometers, clocks, 
dishes and comprehensive washing facilities, all for the 
remarkably low price of 2/6 per hour. Photographic 
chemicals and papers are all kept in stock, and a reference 
library which also contains current photographic Journals 
is at the disposal of photographers using the Centre. 

The writer, who was personally conducted over the 
plant, was very much impressed. Shaw Jones is supply- 
ing a long felt want. Technicians know that they can 
always be certain of the excellent condition of any of the 
fleet of Newman cine cameras to be hired from the Lon- 
don Photographic Centre. These are all checked by Shaw 
Jones, who as everyone knows is a first-class cameraman 
himself. Thus they are always in perfect order for the free 
lance cinematographer. 

To have perfect confidence in the apparatus one 
uses is a sure step fo better British pictm-cs. 



Jan. Feb., 1939 



T H E CINE- T ECH N I C I A N 



1 55 



British Documentaries In America 

News to hand via the Metropolitan Motion Picture 
Bulletin, published in New York, that Watler C. Gentlohn 
Inc., one of the leading American distributors of 16 m'.m. 
films, has just contracted for the exclusive release of 
the Strand Film Company's films directed by Ruby 
(irierson, Hawes, Alexander and Spice. These include 
"Five Faces," "Fingers and Thumbs," "Duchy of Corn- 
wall." "London Wakes Up," "Mites and Monsters," 
"Monkey into Man." "People in the Park," "Rooftops 
of London," "Statue Parade," "Today we Live" and 
"Zoo Babies." This contract should bring many dollars 
across the Atlantic into the coffers of Strand Films, and 
allow more cash to be spent on the technicians, enabling 
them to make even bigger and better documentaries". 

The Megger 

Sound engineers and studio engiheers-in-charge 
should be interested in two hand-books published by that 
famous electrical firm, Messrs. Evershed & Vignolls Ltd., 
Acton Lane Works, W.4. These are "A Pocket Book on 
Insulation Testing" and "Handbook on Continuity and 
Polarity Testing." Both books are very well illustrated 
by photos and diagrams, and give in simple language full 
instructions for carrying out electrical tests, and the use 
of the Megger Insulation Tester. As they say in the 
foreword "Breakdowns mean loss of output . . . the 
safety of electrical installations and apparatus depends 
chiefly on the condition oi the insulation." and this pocket 
book explains how this condition can be ascertained b\ 
simple tests. 



Bi-Linguals in Palestine 

Jack Cotter, newsreel ace, just back from Palestine 
where he has been war filming for Movietonews. tells 
me how they obtain bi-lingual in local theatres. Down 
each side of the screen is another oblong screen. The 
films shown have French titles superimposed on them 
and down each side of the screen are titles in Hebrew 
and Arabic. These titles are handwritten on transparent 
film stock and are slowly wound by hand to the neces- 
sary cue-sheets. Thus three nationalities can enjoy the 
cinema. 

Jack has obtained a large amount of interesting 
iootage during his tour of office in Palestine. 



Tell This to Ncn-Unionists 

A miner claimed, in the County Court, for wage 
advances which he said were due to him under an agree- 
ment between his local Miners' Association and the local 
Coalowners' Association. He admitted, however, that 
he was not a member of his Association. 

The Judge told him that as he was not a member 
of the Union he was not covered by the agreement, and 
his claim could not succeed unless he could prove that 
there was an agreement between him and the coalowners 
under which he was to benefit by the agreement betwee n 
the Miners' Association and the Coalowners' Association. 

Nor -Unionists should mark, learn, and digest. 




A 

PriUiant 
Future 



Rafted fo<>$$ ifc^al 



All enquiries to 

DUFAY-CHROMEX LTD. 

14-16 Cockspur St. 

London S W 1 

Tele. : Whitehall 6747 

For the 

attention of 

Major Adrian Klein 



/the motion picture industry has 
il^uXorocess ■— the single three- 
coloXr()n^gative atli p 1 ^i n £le Qt B^ee-co lour positive. In 



the last iy^o \years tDufaycololr xNe^ative and Positive 



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use of Dufaycoldr N filn^ {or eveV4 nfecfu 




practical 



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out the whole world. Du^a^o^^T^aJ9 
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f~~) 



150 



T HE CI X E TECHNICIA N 



Jan. Feb., 1980 



THREE NEW NEGATIVE FILMS 

by I. D. WRATTEN. Technical Service, Kodak Ltd. 



THE characteristics most essential tor negative films 
to be used for motion picture purposes are not onlj 
those ol high speed and fine grain, hut also include 
exposure latitude and imijormit\ ol product. All 
these requirements have been met in the production of the 
new films, which have been named Kastman Plus X, 
Eastman Super XX, and Eastman background X. 

EASTMAN PLUS X 

Eastman Plus X, code number 1231, is a new motion 
picture negative material for studio use. It is consider- 
ably faster than Eastman Super X. and has even finer 
gram, a combination which has previously been considered 
unobtainable. This new film with its higher speed and 
excellent exposure latitude will assist in reducing studio 
lighting problems, and is in every way a worthy successor 
to Eastman Super X. 

EASTMAN SUPER XX 

Eastman Super XX, code number 1232, is an ex- 
tremely high speed negative material suitable for use 
under unfavourable lighting conditions. Actual night ex- 
teriors may be undertaken witli confidence using this 
film. While its speed is considerably in excess of that 
obtained in Plus X, graininess has been kept at a satis- 
factorily low level. 

EASTMAN BACKGROUND X 

This material, code number 1230, is designed spe- 
cially for negatives from which positives are to be made 
for background projection, ami represents a considerable 
advance in both fineness of grain and speed when com- 
pared with Eastman Background Panchromatic, code 
number 1213, which it will replace. 



mm 








mmwr" 
















SPECTRAL SENSITIVITY 

In spectral sensitivity, Eastman Plus X, Eastman 
Super X.\, and Background X belong to the Eastman B 
classification, whereas Eastman Super X belongs to the 
C class. Tney have extremely high colour sensitiveness, 
corresponding approximately to tne colour sensitiveness 
of the eye, and Having somewhat greater green sensitivity 
than Super X. Wedge Bpectographs, snewn in Figure 

I, illustrate the difference m spectral scnsitivitx existing 
between the three new films and Eastman Super X. 



FILTER FACTORS 

Filter factors to daylight for l'lus X, Super XX, and 
Background X, are given in tabulated form in Figure 2. 





Filter Factors. 






Eastman Super XX 




Filter 


Eastman Plus X 


Background 


Aero 1 


1.25 


1.25 


Aero 2 


1.5 


1.5 


3-X-5 


4 


4 


5-X-5 


5 


5 


Q 


3 


3 


23A 


4 


4 


X!). 0.25 


1.8 


1.8 


XI). 0.50 


3.1 


3.1 



Eigurc i 



Figure 2. 

DEVELOPMENT CHARACTERISTICS 

The Time-gamma characteristics of the three new 
films are shown in Figure 3. It will be seen that the 
differences in development time to produce the recom- 
mended gamma value of 0.(55 are expressed in terms of 
the percentage increase or decrease in time as compared 
with a well-known product, i.e., Eastman Super X. This 
is done in preference to quoting actual times, since while 
the differences in rates of development are reasonably 
consistent under widely differing machine and developer 
conditions, the actual times of development required for, 
say, Eastman Super X, vary considerably from laboratory 
to laboratory. 

As will be seen by an examination of the curves, 
Eastman Plus X lias very nearly the same rate of develop- 
ment as P^astman Super X, while Eastman Super XX 
requires approximately 50 per cent, longer development 
to attain a gamma value of 0.65. Eastman Background 
X requires about 20 per cent, less time than Eastman 
Super X to achieve the same gamma value. 

SPEED 

It is always difficult to reconcile speed numbers with 
the practical differences existing between picture negative 
products, but as an example of the relative speeds of these 
new products it may be stated that under average studio 
lighting conditions Eastman Plus X requires approx- 
mately one half, and Super XX only one quarter the 
amount of light normally employed where Eastman Super 
X is used, assuming that all three films are developed to 
similar gamma values. 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 157 




RELATIVE DEVELOPMENT TRrtS TO GIVE GAMMA O »S (SUPER K TAKEN AS lOCD 
NOTE ■ THESE VALUES ARE APPROXIMATE AND SHOULD BE USED AS AN INDICATION 

ONLT. MORE ACCURATE FIGURES CAN NOT BE GIVEN AS THE VALUES 

DEPEND UPON INDJVIOUAL MACHINE CONDrTIONS 

Figure 3 

GRAININESS 

An indication of the relative graininess oi the three 
products as compared with Eastman Super X may be 
obtained by an inspection of the photomicrographs in 
Figure 4. As will be seen, the Eastman Background X 
has finer grain than the other products, and Eastman 
Plus X shews less grain than Eastman Super X. the 
latter being almost identical with Eastman Super XX. 

SAFELIGHTS 

Eastman Plus X, Super XX. and Background X film 
can he handled under the same type of Safelight (Wrat- 
ten Series III.) as is used for Eastman Super \. Addi- 
tional care should he taken, however, in view of the in- 
creased speeds of these films. It is recommended that 
safelight tests should be made using the new films, and 
if it is found necessary, a lamp of lower power should 
be substituted for the one normally used. 

CODE INITIAL 

In order to assist in the recognition of the film type 
either prior to or alter development, an initial is printed 



Figure 4 

just ahead of the main series of footage numbers on all 
liochester negative products. As an example, in the 
visible footage number 23E E87718. the initial F indicates 
that the film is Eastman Super X. 

The code initials for the three products are as fol- 
lows : — 

G = Eastman Plus X 
II - Eastman Super XX 
B - Eastman Background X 

DEVELOPER 

The following formula is recommended for the deve- 
lopment of Eastman Plus X. Super XX and Background 



X. 

FJon (Metol) 2.0 grants 

Hydroquinone 5.0 

Sodium Sulphite (Anhydrous) 100.0 

Borax 2.0 „ 

Water to make 1.0 litre 



WILLIAM HICKEY ON THE FILM SLUMP 



In a recent issue of the " Daily Express " William 
Hickey, the well-known columnist, drew attention to 
the continued depression in the film industry, and said : 
" It is hard for the technicians, who are highly- 
skilled in their own jobs, only less adaptable than actors ; 
those of them who are cameramen often have to sell 
or pawn their expensive cameras. I met some of them 
yesterdaj round Wardour-street. Their temper was 
fairly — but not altogether resigned, sardonic, less bitter 
than it might be. One 1 talked to is a cutter of films; 
he has had three weeks' work in the last year. One 
disadvantage of such unemployment is that film tech- 
nique advances rapidly. The jobless get out of touch. 
They would like at least to go and see as many films as 
possible to study what is being done ; ironically, the men 
who make films are the only people who find it difficult 
to get into trade-shows. If this great industry, which 
lias wasted so many millions, can't find these men 



work, it might at least enable them to keep their skill 
from rusting. They blame the Films Act. They want 
the number of quota films increased. They blame the 
policy which imported hundreds of technicians who 
claimed to have been big noises in Hollywood or Cen- 
tral Europe (though men of Erich Pommer's calibre 
were welcome). Mostly they don't blame anybody, 
they just hang around Soho telling jokes about the in- 
credible Hogwasch stupidity of some film executives." 
In mentioning the difficulty film technicians have in see- 
ing British films, we feel Mi-. Hickey has done a service 
to technicians, and we hope that his paragraphs will 
result in the present anomaly being remedied. Already 
Charles F. Hjgham Ltd. has responded and sends to the 
A.C.T. office a substantial supply of tickets for Gaumont- 
British press shows. Unemployed members may obtain 
them from the A.C.T. offices. 



158 



THE CINE- 'J' E C HNICIAN 



Jan. Feb., L93fl 



MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA 



By 



Freddie Ford 



If a disinterested person were to investigate the 
various ways in which cameramen have entered their 
particular niche in the industry, J fancy that be would 
rind there were as many ways as there are cameramen. 
In my own particular case I arrived at the job J am now 
doing by actually being a cameraman. Topsy-turvy, but 
quite true. Alter returning from [South Axrica where I 
had been in charge ot a studio handling both the photo- 
graphing and process work for Kinemas' Ltd., 1 worked 
my way round the smaller studios on "quickies" 
eventually landing a job with G.B. where 1 photo- 
graphed several films over a period of two years. 
In major films, the big producers were bringing over from 
America and the continent ace men, whose names were 
fairly well known, and without casting any doubts on 
their actual merits, they were freezing out the native 
worker. I was one of that bunch of native workers who 
saw before him very little opportunity for advancement 
for a long time to come. Indeed with the influx of new 
blood into the industry my eventual chances were becom- 
ing less and less. Any good operator could light a quickie, 
and if, in say a year's time, my own operator was going 
to be as good as me. then it put one more cameraman on 
the market, and still further lessened my chances. 1 
decided that if a job came along that was going to give 
me something more interesting to do than just the light- 
ing of quotas, I would take it. 

In time I went to London Film Productions to do 
some shorts for them, and while on this job I was given 
the opportunity to do a background shot for "The Ghost 
Goes West." I was only too glad to do it, and was given 
my instructions by Ned Mann, who at that time was in 
charge of the special effects department. The shot was 
apparently just what they required ; I was given other 
work to do for them, and it has resulted in my becoming a 
member of the "special effects." I went on to do other 
jobs, as operator, on "Things to Come" and "Miracle 
Man," and it did not take long for me to realise that this 
department of trick photography was what I had been 
looking for. It was a job lor a man who wanted to 
specialise; it was something that was so well run. and 
where things were so well worked out that it was a little 



world on its own. 1 had to start again as an operator, 
but this time 1 saw signs that it might lead to something 
better than lighting cheap quotas. Every major studio 
in the country might eventually have a special trick 
photography department, and meantime 1 was getting in 
on t be ground floor. 

One of the earliest shots 1 had to do was a shot of 
waves, taken from the bows of a eross-channel steamer. 
That shot taught me one ot my first essentials. 1 had 
had the camera tied down in the usual way. just for 
steadiness, but 1 had not got it jacked up. W hen the 
shot was screened I was asked if the boat had been par- 
ticularly rocky or vibrating on the trip. I couldn't 
remember that it had been. 1 thought the shot was as 
good as any thing 1 had done before, but the department 
were not entirely satisfied. I told them what J had done, 
and when 1 told them J had not had the camera jacked 
up I Learned their keyword — steadiness. Not just fair 
steadiness, not even more than average steadiness, but 
rock steadiness. When you have to put several different 
shots together to form one composite whole, as we so 
frequently have, if only one ot the shots has a waver on 
it the whole effect is lost. Instead of making a shot 
that is convincing and natural, you get one that smells 
of the trick department and looks phoney from the first 
frame. Here thanks must be given to our camera 
mechanics who play an important part in maintaining 
our cameras and equipment. 

My earliest training included such things as shooting 
on miniatures. Some of these shots are of quite con- 
ventional simplicity, like one of the harbour of New 
York where we cranked at four times normal speed to 
get a realistic wave motion on the water and to get the 
boats which were pulled by strings to move easily and 
without jerking. Another was an aeroplane shot done 
against a neutral grey backing. The backing itself was 
lit only by leak light, but the area of action of the 
planes was fully illuminated, top bottom, and sides. The 
reason for the grey backing was that the clouds were made 
against this by spraying titanium chloride into the air. It 
forms quite realistic cloud effects, but care has to be 
taken to see that the air conditions in the studio remain 




Optical printing will improve this by adding these 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE- T E C H M C I A N 



159 



constant in order that the clouds maj always behave 
in the same way. This effect was done by the present 
head of the department, Lawrence Butler, who had the 
gas belched out ut special guns so that it just hung where 
wanted. Every now and then the whole studio had to 
be cleared of the fumes when a new take had to be 
done. Another shot was one of the dropping of pain- 
chutes, done w itl i little silk parachutes and plaster models 
dropped from the studio root. 

1 could go on giving countless examples of the sort ol 
special forms of trick photography that we do every day, 
but most of the processes are known in one form or 
another to most cameramen. The big thing that we have 
tried to do here is to do our work better and with more 
attention to every detail ot the process than it gets in the 
majority of studios in this country. 1 cannot let you into 
any secrets, because there really are none that you do not 
already know. The majority ot our work is confined to 
backgrounds and the shooting of back projection shots, 
shooting of miniatures, and in mj own particular case 
the shooting of all the stages of composite shots that are 
eventually put together on the optical printer. Optical 
printing of special shots is also part of our department, 
and we also have our own little laboratory, for there are 
many differences in grading, density, contrast ot print, 
and so forth tint we require that is best done by ourselves 
father than b\ the ordinary lab. Tom Howard, out- 
optical printer, is one of the lu st men at his job in the 




Four stages of trick s 



country, and has done some really outstanding work ill 
this department, for which, had he been of any other 
nationality than just plain English, he would have got a 
Lot ot publicity long ago. As it is he goes steadily on with 
his job, calm, efficient, and painstaking, only hoping that 
the job he does adds something of value to the film it 
goes into. Indeed, the same may be said for the whole 
ot the department. 

As 1 spoke of backgrounds 1 may as well tell you 
our own way ot making these. We don't just set up a 
camera and shoot, then stick the artists in front of it and 
rephotograph. First we find out from the director how 
big the artists are going to be in the final action, close, 
mid, three-quarter, or lull figure. On the shooting of 
the plate we send the assistant out into the foreground 
so that we can line up on the subject as it will eventually 
be seen. We take a tew feet with the assistant in position, 
to let the director get a line up when he sees it screened, 
and then shoot the plate, with all the usual provisos as 
to steadiness, and taking care that there is no object in 
front of the camera less than 25 feet away. We then 
make the special shooting prints ourselves, as we are 
best able to judge what degree of contrast will be required 
in the final set-up. For less important or moving back- 
grounds the continuous printer is quite good enough, but 
lor work requiring more contrast or for static backgrounds 
we use either the step printer or the optical, the latter giv- 
ing the greater degree ot both steadiness and contrast. We 




for "Spy in Black 



T || E (' I N E3 • T E (' II NIC] A N Jan.- -Feb., 1989 



frequently also advise on the lighting of the set-up in 
the studio, though that is not specifically our joh. The 
projector is fitted with Hell and Howell gate movement, 
of course, and the plate is printed with B. and H. 
sprocket holes, and Mitchell cameras only for shooting. 

The same degree of care is exercised with a moving 
background in shooting as with static ones. The camera 
is tied down solid with chains and tackle to achieve the 
utmost smoothness. Any extra movement other than 
the movement required is distracting, and to see, say. a 
countrj road jumping up and down through the rear win- 
dow of a car makes the shot look less real than it need he. 
[f you get a plate that is not jerks enough for your liking 
there are always ways and means of getting the effect on 

the shooting ot the final scene without altering the back- 
ground, or failing to take care to shoot the plate as 
smoothly as you can in the first instance. 




Back projection for "The Citadel" 



Animation and stop-motion shuts also take up quite 
a lot of our time. They have the advantage, in shots 
such as tracking from a large map up to a particular 
town, of achieving fair accuracy in one take. You can 
track from as far as 1.") feet up to one toot with dead 
accurate focus and movement without any real trouble 
at all. We had much work of this sort to do on "The 
Challenge," which was full of map shots and one-turn- 
one-picture shots. They were tricky without being extra- 
ordinarily difficult, and were certainly effective. 

Finally, 1 have included here stills of only one or 
two of our recent shots, which give quite good illustrations 
of our ordinary day-to-day jobs. One is a back projection 
test for "The Citadel." The special effects department 
makes the plate and prints it, and then makes the first 
test, which in this case included some of the boys on the 
floor, where Robert Donat and Rosalind Russell were 
afterwards photographed. Only after he lias seen the 
result of the test does the director snoot. Another is a 
shot taken in two parts for "Q Planes." One is a 
miniature of a boat with a plane alongside. The backing 
against which this shot was photographed was not 
sufficiently pictorial, so we took the second shot of sky 
and clouds, taking care to have them well in the top of 
the frame. Howard then put the two shots together on 

the opt ical printer. 

The third was really a five-way shot for "Spy In 
Black," though only four of the stages are shown here. 

(Continued at foot of next eolitnin) 



SCHOLARSHIPS TO RUSKIN COLLEGE, OXFORD 

The Trades Union Congress General Council have 

decided to continue their scheme tor the provision of full- 
time residential scholarships tenable at Kuskin College, 
Oxford. These scholarships are open to men and women 
members oi affiliated unions between the ages of 20 and 
35 years. 

For the academic year 1939-40 four scholarships will 
be awarded. Each scholarship will be tenable for one 
year, and will bi renewable for a second year if the 
reports received on the student during the first year are 
satisfactory . 

Hiiring the first year of residence a grant of £1/50 
will he made to each student, and this grant will cover 
i( es, hoard and lodging, and a partial sum for the personal 
c vpenses of the student. Jt is estimated that in addition 
a turtber sum of appioximately fc'io per student will be 
necessary to meet the total cost of the first year. 

Where scholarships are renewed tor a second year a 
grant of t7i) will be made by the T.U.C. and the award 
ol the scholarship will be conditional on the student find- 
ing sufficient additional assistance from other sources to 
enable him to remain at ltuskin College for the second 

year. 

All candidates will sit lor a written examination 
(which will take place in various centres throughout the 
country) and the awards will be made by the General 
Council on the basis of the examination results, plus 
evidence ot attendance at evening classes and of activity 
in local trade union affairs. 

Copies of the form on which application must be 
made can be obtained from: H. V. Tewson, Assistant 
Secretary. Trades Union Congress General Council. Trans- 
port House, Smith Square, London, S.W.I. 

* * # 
ACT') 1!S FOB PEACE. 

Robert Donat. Leslie Hanks, John Gielgud, and 
Emlyn Williams are among those who sign a letter, under 
the auspices of the National Peace Council, appealing 
for signatures to a petition "to mobilise public opinion 
in favour of a determined approach to the problem of 
peace." The main objectives of the petition are described 
as "large-scale measure of economic reconstruction; a 
solution of the Colonial problem, recognising the para- 
mount interest of the native peoples; and, ultimately, a 
limitation and reduction of armaments." 

Petition forms and other material can be obtained 
from the National Peace Council at 39, Victoria Street, 
London, S.W.I. 

MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA ~" 

(Continued from previous column) 
The shot of the driving mirror is a genuine miniature, 
simply shot direct. A frame of this is carefully cut out 
and placed in the camera to see where to put the ai'tists 
so as to get them into the right position, remembering that 
they have to be placed on the opposite sides to their 
position in a straight shot, and have to do all their actions 
left-handed. This scene is then shot direct and optically 
printed into the miror. Finally a background plate is shot 
and placed in the vacant bottom part of the frame, to give 
the final composite shot. 

As a last word I might add that more of these shots 
would be possible were it not for careful preparation and 
forethought, and if thi' shooting schedule is clear for any 
one day then that time is occupied in testing or preparing 
lor that "missing scene" which the department will next 
have to manufacture. 



Jan.— Feb., 1039 THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 161 



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off &■ & W. 9ffcm£et* and &>t 
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MOTION PICTURE ENGINEERS 



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KATJA. LONDON 



121, WARDOUR STREET 
LONDON, W.l 



T H E C I N E-T ECHNICIAN 



Jan. Feb., L939 



CIVIL LIBERTY 



T 



HE National Council for Civil Liberties was born 
in 1934 as a result of the agitation against what is 
often known as the Sedition Bill but what is more 
coircctly called the Incitement to Disaffection Act. The 
Bill, as introduced, violated numerous principles of Eng- 
lish law and provoked an outcry among even Conservative 
Lawyers. Important modifications were made during its 
passage through Parliament hut it is still a menace to 
freedom and a threat to peace propaganda. Under this 
Act it is an offence to be in possession of a document 
with intent to seduce or endeavour to seduce an\ member 
of the armed forces of the Crown from his duU or 
allegiance, if the document is of such a nature that its 
distribution among the armed forces would amount to 
an offence. It is not difficult to imagine a Bench ol lay 
Magistrates being very easily persuaded in a time of crisis 
that a person charged before them with being in possession 
of anti-war pamphlets had a criminal intent, especially 
it he held views which tiny disliked. 

Since 1934 the work of the National Council has 
extended greatly and its concern has been to defend 
existing civil liberties against am encroachments b\ the 
Government, haw Courts, Companies and so on. Every 
Monday night at the Council's offices persons who think- 
that their civil liberties have been infringed can attend 
and be given free legal advice by the Council's lawyers. 
If the case is suitable tin applicant is provided with a 
barrister and solicitor to conduct his case in Court. The 
most frequent eases are allegations of misuse or the 
arbitrary exercise by the police of their powers. Con- 
stantly from the East End of London come cases where 
the police have closed down an anti-Fascist meeting in 
order to allow a Fascist meeting to be held. Other cases 
concern the arrest of interrupters at Fascist meetings 
where the interrupter has been reasonably provoked by 
the abuse proceeding from the platform. The fate of these 
cases before a Magistrate may be judged from the fol- 
lowing case which was heard in the North London Police 
Court. A law-abiding Jewish citizen had been cruelly 
beaten up by a Blackshirt. He was removed to hospital 
and detained. Two doctors gave evidence that the wound 
was caused by a metal bar or other sharp instrument 
causing grievance bodily harm. The young Blackshirt 
accused was merely bound over by the Magistrate. 

An investigation was made by the Council's Secretary 
into the conduct of the Police during the Harworth Col- 
liery strike in March. 1937, and it was shown that the 
police misused their powers in many ways. The section 
of the Public Order Act, 1936, which deals with the offence 
■ >f insulting words and behaviour likely to lead to a breach 
of the public peace was used in this dispute for the first 
time. Although Parliament had been assured that the 
Public Older Act was intended to be used against the 
Fascists, it was used on this occasion against the strikers. 

The Council is in close touch with similar Societies 
n the Dominions, India, America and elsewhere, and has 
carried out an investigation into the tyranny that is in 
orce in Northern Ireland. The Attorney-General of 
Northern Ireland has said that England often follows the 
example of Northern Ireland. On that account the Coun- 
cil's full report is worth reading in order to see in action, 
80 near to England, a state which is Fascist to all intents 
oid purposes. Reference can only be made here to one 



or two of the powers of this Gove rnnient. There is power 
to detain a person in prison lor an indefinite period with- 
out charge or trial. The punishment of death can be 
inflicted lor offences relating to the possession and use 
of explosives. The Authorities ol Northern Ireland can 
refuse to allow a person who is indefinitely detained to 
receive his legal advisers, and they can forbid all corres- 
pondence and visits from friends or relations. Is this 
not reminiscent of the conditions of German Concertra- 
1 1> hi ( 'amps ? 

Members ol the Association of Cine-Technicians may 
be particularly interested in the Council's work to protect 
non-inflammable or Bub-standard films from censorship. 
The Government and certain sections of the Cinema trade 
have lor a long time desired to bring sub-standard films 
under a censorship. At the moment it is generally con- 
sidered that these films, being non-inflammable, are not 
subject to the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1909, 
and consequently many political films which are banned 
b\ the British Board ot Film Censors are freely shown 
all over the country in small halls. From time to time, 
during the p ist five years, attempts have been made to 
bring these films within the ordinary censorship. These 
attempts culminated in the prosecution of a Durham 
Miners' lodge for showing a Russian film. The Home 
Othce expert proved in Court that the sub-standard film 
would actually burn while it was placed in a flame, but 
the Magistrates did not consider that this made it an 
inflammable film and dismissed the case. Recently the 
Surrey County Council made regulations to control the 
exhibition of non-inflammable films and have laid down 
restrictive conditions as to the type of film that may 
be shown. These regulations purport to be made under 
the 1909 Act but are probably invalid. A Home Office 
Committee is now sitting to decide whether non- 
inflammable films shall be definitely brought within the 
scope of the 19C9 Act. The Council is submitting evidence 
to this Committee and it is hoped that it will be possible 
to prevent any extension of control over this type ot film. 
It is obvious that education and political liberty will be 
unnecessarily interfered with if any general control of 
these films is established. 

The Council is working to get the Official Secrets 
Acts amended but it is not possible in a short article 
to deal with this or its many other activities. 

The National Council tor Civil Liberties is strictly 
non-party and its work is becoming more voluminous and 
its need ot help, financially and otherwise, grows as the 
attacks on liberty increase. 

The Association of Cine-Technicians has now affiliated 
to the National Council for Civil Liberties and I hope 
that many of the members will join individually as well 
and also buy the Council's literature.* Knowledge of the 
attacks that are being made on liberty is necessary 
before one can take political action to frustrate them. In 
the last four years these attacks have greatly increased. 
Now is the time to assist in defending liberty while we 
are still free to do it. 

R. s. W. POLLARD. 

^Obtainable from the National Council for Civil Liberties. 
Morley House, 320, Regent Street, II". 1. 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



THE CINE- T ECU N I C I A N 



163 



LESSONS FROM " MEN WITH WINGS " 



Telling the story of man's conquest of the air from 
the first flight by the Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk in 
1903 to the making of super-speed bombers to-day, this 
aviation picture, the first to he shot entirely in Techni- 
color, offers many lessons to the cine technician. The 
most important, I think, is that such a heavy piece of 
apparatus as the Technicolor camera could be used to 
obtain such mobile results. The flying by members of 
the Black Cat Club, the stunt flyers who worked on '"Men 
With Wings," has been brilliantly photographed. Our 
illustrations show the elaborate camera set-up used. In 
One we see the camera fitted on top of the machine's wing, 
and the method of bracing it. This camera was used to 
colour-film the stunts and was operated by remote control 
by the pilot. In Two the camera is mounted on a gun ring 
and is operated by the cameraman. This was used to 
film the formation flights shown in the film. This camera 
fit-up should be of great help to any British firm contem- 
plating aero pictures. A special rostrum was 
constructed at each side of the machines to allow the 
operators and assistants to load and fix the cameras easily 
without being cramped or damaging the planes' fabric. 
The film contains some very fine photography and the 
colour scene of Ranson's crashing on his first flight and 
being burned to death, was in my opinion one of the most 
effectively horrible scenes the screen has shown us — but 
then I had seen this happen in real lite, and the memory 
always haunts me. By the way. Ray Milland, one of 
the stars in this film, is British — just another one who 
has made good. From King's College, London, trained 
horses, rode in Grand National, seaman. Household 
Cavalry, film off-set marksman. Spent Christmas home 
and was dined by his old troop at Albany Street Barracks. 

Before the War 1 filmed man\ of the early flights in 
machines constructed ti ma bamboo curtain poles and 
driven by home made propellors and motor cycle engines. 
Those early flights nearly always ended in a crash and 
then came hungry days for the pilots while cash was 
procured to patch up the machine! This leads me to a 
very important lesson to be learned from this film — in 
"Men With Winu's" the early flights and the record 
breaking attempts are illustrated by means of static titles 




Figure i 




Figure 2 



which are supposed to give the necessary montage impres- 
sion of the progress of aviation. These titles are just 
a shock to the viewer's cinematic mind. Topical films 
ot all these events are available, but have presumably 
not been used because they are black and white. If 
these scenes had been used and tone-tinted they would 
have fitted inconspicuously into the Technicolor shots, 
and would have greatlj added to the drama of the film. 
Or they could have been stencilled in Pathe-colour. 1 
am sure the reasonable use of these two processes woidd 
be of great help in Technicolor films that have to use 
old pictures for flash-backs. Anyway, technicians should 
see this very thrilling Him with its first colour flying 
sequences. 

At the premiere at the Carlton Theatre were many 
distinguished people, including Lord Mountbatten who 
did so much to introduce films to the Royal Navy ; 
Mr. Joseph Kennedy, the American Ambassador, who 
was at one time Pathe chief in America; Leslie Burgin, 
Minister of Transport, very much interested in film 
affairs; Lt . Col. Moore-Brabazon, the first licenced pilot 
in England and a director of Kodak's; Claude Graham 
White and Sir Alan Cobham, who both have piloted 
many cameramen. 

K.G. 

* * * 
AMONG THE AMATEURS 

Interest iii colour is making steady progress among 
amateur groups. The Plymouth Institution Photographic 
Section had a lecture on December 12th on the Dufay 
Process by Mr. George H. Sow ell of Dufay-Chromex, and 
another lecture and demonstration is arranged for 
February 12th on the Kodachrome Process. 

The Manchester and Salfoi'd Film Society has already 
shown four programmes this season, featuring "Extase," 
"La Belle Equipe," "Underworld," and "The Last 
rsight." Features for the spring season will be chosen 
from "The World is Ours" (Czech), "Janitzio" (Mexico), 
"Carnet du Hal." "Orage," 'Gribouille" and "Amphy- 
trion" (France). "Der Schimmelreiter" (Germany), "Son 
of Mongolia" and "The Thirteen" (U.S.S.E.). 



104 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



Jan.— Feb., 1989 



LAB TOPICS 



seldom arc at a function of this nature, and five speakers 
between them occupied a total speaking time of exactly 
6) minutes. Such functions serve a very useful purpose 
by bringing persons from different sections of the industry 
together periodically. 

LAB SOCIAL CLUB 

Nemo tells us : The object of the Laboratory Social 

Club is probably known to most, but lor the benefit of 
those who have forgotten or are unenlightened, a few 
brief words may not seem misplaced. Alter the forma- 
tion ol a Laboratory Section in the Association, it was 
lelt by sonic that opportunities should be provided for 
social gatherings; many members during their A.C.T. 
activities had had opportunities of forming new acquain- 
tances, perhaps not always in congenial circumstances; 
arguing over principles and divergent political schisms 
does not tend to produce a. carefree atmosphere for frater- 
nising, and so the Social Section was formed, and those of 
you who have attended any of the functions will agree 
that it has justified its existence. It is a curious thing, 
the amount of real hard work necessary lor giving people 
an enjoyable evening. You all know the old saw "Many 
hands make light work" — it may not be literally correct 



LABORATORIES IN INDIA 

A recent issue of " filmindia" draws attention to 
the Factories Acts which regulate working conditions in 
the British laboratories and states that something of a 
similar nature is badly required for film workers in India. 
They continue : "As matters stand to-day our film workers 
happen to be the most unfortunate lot of people we can 
ever find, struggling for a living. The present trade 
depression has compelled the studio executives in India 
to carry out heavy retrenchments in our army of film 
workers, with the result that the present people who are 
employed are putting in excessive work, for which they 
get normal wages. And the conditions under which they 
actually work are not heavenly in any case. The film 
laboratories in India, with the exception of a few. air 
no better than birth homes of disease and ill-health. 

" While everyone admits that the health of the labora- 
tory workers should be the consideration of all producers, 
the economical conditions do not permit the producers to 
introduce radical changes for the better. However, a lol 
can be done if the producers intend to put some human 
element in their business by providing to the workers 
more rest and changing conditions suitably to make the 
laboratories more comfortable for work. 

"A visit to one of these laboratories would bring 
home forcibly the necessity of installing air conditioning 
plants and introducing up-to-date ventilation. 

" Let us consider the fumes in the different parts of a 
film laboratory. Taking the cleaning department, where 
methylated spirit is used, the air is so stagnant with the 
fumes of this particular spirit that one can hardly breathe 
with comfort. 

The developing looms where the tanks are cleaned 
w ith profuse use of hydrochloric acid, are full of choking 
fumes, which must in the long run cause a sorry effect 
on the health of the workers. And to all these fumes, 
add the bad ventilation and the necessary darkness which 
we find in our laboratories, and you can well imagine 
the conditions under w hich our laboratory workers actually 
work . 

" In foreign countries, Governments are taking 
serious notice of these affairs, but not so on our side. 
Something must be done, and that too urgently, to 
improve the lot of our studio workers by bringing new- 
changes in our Factories' Act. The first and foremost 
thing that compels attention is to equip every- laboratory 
with an air conditioning plant. This item at least must 
be made compulsory by an official regulation." 

OLYMPIC DINNER AND DANCE 

A year ago our General Secretary attended the annual 
Dinner and Dance of the Olympic Sports and Social Club 
and was promptly away ill for the next two months. This 
year the Committee forgot the past and invited him again, 
and so far he appears to have safely survived. 

A large number of the staff attended, together with 
Mr. J. G. Skittrell, head of the firm, and distinguished 
visitors, such as Mr. Wratten, of Kodak Ltd., from busi- 
ness associates of the Company. It was also pleasing to 
see visitors from other laboratories present. The whole 
evening went with a swing, and great credit is due to 
the Hon. Secretary, Mr. 1). D. Milne, who organised the 
function. The speeches were as speeches should be but 




If A MlCHTSHIFT IS SOMETHIflC YOU HEAR WHILE YOUR NIGHTIE' \S II THE WflSH 



but you know wiiat I mean. Well, what about it '.' If 
you knew the amount of time and energy used by your 
social representatives you would be amazed. And, look 
you ! Apart from their ordinary service there is a social 
evening to plan and scheme for — when? 

JANUARY 20th, 1939 

Now here's a chance for any budding (or blooming) 
musician, crooner, impersonator, juggler, sword-sw allower 
or double act, who consider that they should be among 
Carol Levis's discoveries, to make a name for them- 
selves. Don't sent a postcard. Simply let your social 
representative know the type of entertainer you are. 
Amateur dance bandsmen are especially welcome. 

The Social is being held at the G.P. Restaurant, 
Wardour Street, W.l, where we shall be able to do the 
Lambeth Walk. Unfortunately larger accommodation 
would mean greater expense, and bearing in mind tin' 
super outing the Committee are planning for June 25th, 
a small charge of ninepence is being made for the refresh- 
ments, which will b e in the form of a running buffet. 

So cut your smoking down and reserve your wind. 
When you arrive at the "place de concorde" come out of 
your shell, drop your reserve, put your best foot forward, 
and have a scrumptious time. 



T H E C I N E - T ECHXICIA N 165 



Jan. -Feb., 1939 

And now, folks, an apology. The Committee would 
like to express their sincere regret to those who failed 
to enjoy themselves at the Dance held at the Paramount, 
due chiefly to the excessive overcrowding. Both the Com- 
mittee and the Paramount management were unpre- 
pared and genuinely surprised at the large numbers of 
outsiders attending. A lesson has been learned and the 
Committee will do their utmost to make amends when 
the next I >ance is held. 

The Football Competition has met with a grand 
response, hut our Social Secretary tells me that 
there are hundreds of unsold tickets each week. 
Well, that won't do I The number of l.O.l'.'s have been 
increased and a fret' ticket given with every dozen as 
an extra incentive to sellers, so if you are only selling 
one or two, take a dozen to sell and profit by the tree 
gift. It might win. Besides, if every laboratory member 
(and friends) conies to the outing, we shall need some 
dough to ensure that the all-in cost is low. So put your 
hacks to the wall, stand shoulder to shoulder, keep jour 
powder dry, and let not a ticket go unsold. 

STOP PRESS : Watch out for the next issue for details 
concerning the outing, especially if you've never seen 
the sea. 



EMPLOYER'S TRIBUTE 

Colonel Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, M.P., in a 
letter to the chairman of a meeting called to discuss the 
benefits of Trade Unionism, wrote: — 

"I believe that the work of Trade Unions in the field 
of industry has deserved . and should receive, the sup- 
port of the workers and encouragement from employers. 

"I am convinced that an ever-increasing number of 
employers realise the value of Trade Unions as informed 
responsible bodies, and that if industrial matters are to 
be dealt with on the facts they are wise to deal with 
those who have a definite stake in the industry. 

"As far as the workeis are concerned it seems to 
me that there can he no doubt whatever but that the 
Trade Union Movement lias been of inestimable benefit 
to them. 

"1 would like to say this: in every walk of life there 
are people who are apt to accept any benefits which may 
be obtained for them without feeling under any obliga- 
tion to contribute to those organisations which are working 
on their behalf. 

"That simply does not seem to me to be 'playing 
cricket.' 

GAMMA 



' QUANTITY and QUALITY ' 

HAS ALWAYS BEEN OUR AIM! 



•LIBRARY* 

WE ARE ALWAYS ADDING FRESH 

MATERIAL TO OUR ALREADY 
ENORMOUS STOCK SHOT LIBRARY 

NO MATTER WHAT YOUR ENQUIRY. 

MAY BE 

GIVE US A RING AND LET US HELP 
YOU. 



C 
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DESPATCH 



EDITING BAYS 



HERE IS EVERYTHING 
EDITOR'S NEEDS - 



FOR THE 



MODERN SOUND MOVIOLAS, 
SYNCHRONISERS AND ALL 

NECESSARY GEAR FOR EFFICIENT 
CUTTING. 

" EACH BAY A SEPARATE UNIT!" 



AND 



STORAGE 



LET US DO YOUR DESPATCH YOUR FILMS WILL 

RECEIVE EVERY CARE AND ATTENTION. WE PRIDE 

OURSELVES THAT EVERY FILM LEAVING OUR 
ESTABLISHMENT IS CAREFULLY RENOVATED AND CHECKED 
BY A COMPETENT STAFF. 



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Telephones : 
Cerrard 7481, 6413 




86-88, Wardour Street, 
London, W.l 



160 'J 1 H E C I N E - T E C H N 1 C IAN Jan.— Feb., 1986 

Western Eleetrie Progress B.F.I. REPORT 



Continued technical progress during 1088 is reported 
by Western Electric. 

On the exhibition side it is estimated thai nearly two 
and onedialf million seals in Great Britain are in theatres 
equipped with Western Electric sound. 

From abroad it is reported thai Mirrophonic sound 
was making strong headway, particularly in India and 
Australia, where whole chains are installing the new- 
system, as rapidly as equipment can be supplied. On the 
Continent and in Africa there is steady progress with 
new installations in an increasing number of theatres. 

RECOEDING AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS. 

During the Bummer Mr. E. M. Hall, technical 
director of the company, made an extensive tour of the 
American laboratories and studios. During this he re- 
viewed current equipment developments in both the 
reproducing and recording fields. 

While in Hollywood Mr. Hall visited several of the 

major Western Electric equipped studios and conferred 
with ERPI'S engineering staff on the coast to obtain 
detailed information on all new recording developments, 
so that this data would be equally available to the Wes- 
tern Electric equipped studios in England and on the 
Continent. 

Mr. Hall states that "ERP] is devoting an increasing 
amount of time to research and development of new 
techniques and the study of fundamental methods in the 
sound picture Held. Parallel with these studies ERP1 
has developed several new and improved instruments and 
methods for determining conveniently the degree of per- 
fection obtained in the laying down of a modern sound 
track. " 

Instruments have been designed capable of giving 
studio engineers a (puck and accurate cheek on the 
"quality" factors of modulation and density in motion 
picture film production. These instruments include the 
inter-modulation oscillator and the electric densitometer. 

Mr. Hall reports that "ERPI has recently been called 
upon by two of the major producers in Hollywood to 
undertake a complete study of their existing recording 
plant and their present methods of sound technique with 
a view to extensive modifications and additions of new 
equipment which, it is claimed, will provide those particu- 
lar studios with the greatest facilities for the production 
of modern motion pictures in the world." 



The Fifth Annual Report (July 1937-June 1988) of 

the British film Institute records a \ear of lull and 
varied activity. The National film Library, following a 
reorganisation of its .Management Committee, received a 
special grant of £3,000 from the Privy Council for the 
consolidation and extension of its preservation section, 
a task already begun by the addition ol 247 films to the 
44H previously acquired. Forty-eight new items, from 
Meliex to this year's productions, have been added to the 
Loan Section, and a history of the cartoon film con- 
structed — "Drawings thai walk and talk" (seen by A.C.T. 
members on December 1st). A similar film on Charles 
Chaplin has been prepared. An International Federation 
of Film Archives has now been set up, co-ordinating 
national bodies in Hondo, i. Paris, New fork and Berlin. 
The Dominions and Colonies Panel ol the Institute has 
made a report on the Machinery for Educational Distri- 
bution within the British Empire and co-operated in this 
scheme tor imperial free trade in educational films. 
International free trade, however, has been held up since 
the CO-Ordinating body, the International Institute of 

Educational Cinematography at Rome, closed its doors 
on January 1st. L9£8, when Italy left the League. 

Much of the B.F.I.'s effort is devoted to the 
educational use of the cinema. Suggestions have been 
made for both distribution and production of films on 
physical training, and local conferences of Education 
Committees held. The number of projectors in use in 
schools has risen from OKi to 1,490 — and 4"20 new films 
have been issued. The ICE. I. has helped in the running 
of "Film Schools," given lectures to educational bodies, 
and co-Operated closely with the Central Council for 
School Broadcasting. The Subject Committees have 
reported on the problems of their particular sphere, and 
regularly reviewed current productions in the Monthly 
Film Bulletin. The latter publication also reviewed 713 
out of some 778 fictional feature films released in an effort 
to encourage film appreciation among all those who 
patronise the cinema. A pamphlet on this subject has 
also been commissioned. This task is further being 
approached through the medium of education by co- 
operation with local educational film associations and the 
film institute societies, national social organisations, and 
the Social Questions Commission of the League of Nations. 
An indication of the scope of the Institute's work is given 
by the fact that its information section received 2,500 
enquiries from individuals and organisations during the 
year, while its Technical Director was invited to join two 
of the British Standards Institution's Committees. 

The widening of the sphere of the Institute's opera- 
tions has necessitated various constitutional changes. 
The Governing Body and the Advisory Council now con- 
tain representatives of the K.R.S., the C.E.A., the F.B.I. 
Film Group and many other bodies, but not, we note with 
regret, any representatives of those who make films — the 
technicians. Similarly the section of the report on General 
Tendencies limits its comments on the Quota Act to the 
remark that whatever its shortcomings may be in the 
eyes of the various branches of the trade, exhibitors, 
renters and producers alike are benefiting by the ending 
of that long period of uncertainty about the future which 
preceded its passing into law — a statement that reads 
rather bitterly to the 80% of technicians who are un- 
employed after years of working to make British films. 
[Continued at foot of next column) 



THIS MEANS YOU! 

Are YOU concerned with what is happening 

in the world to-day? 
Do YOU realise how it affects YOU as a film 
technician? 

Why not join the FILM 
GROUP of the Left Book Club? 

Send for particulars of lectures ami discussions 
to the Hon. Secretary : 

MISS ELIZABETH COXHEAD, 
8, LLOYD SQUARE, 
W.C.I 



Jan. Feb., 1939 



T HE CLNE-TECH N 1 C 1 A N 



1157 



WHEN FILM STUDIOS BURN 

Professor Haldane on the Next War 

Although an enemy could not hope to win the war by 
setting film studios alight, experience in Spain has shown 
that an air-raiding enemy frequently sends over 
preliminary 'planes by daylight to start fires in large, 
ramshackle buildings in the suburbs of big towns (and 
most film studios correspond to this description); the 
fires, which cannot be extinguished before nightfall, then 
serve as flares to guide the main Meet of enemy planes, 
arriving "by night. Something should be done to make 
film studios considerably less inflammable. 

This statement was m ide by Professor Haldane at 
the inaugural meeting oi the Left Hook Club Film 
Group held last month at the Trade Union Club, 
with Mr. Sidney Bernstein in the chair. The meeting 
heard a witty and penetrating address on A.R.P., 
a subject oi considerable interest to A.C.T. 
members. Professor Haldane claimed that it is 
perfectly possible to give everyone protection 
against every type of bomb, but that the great mass of 
] eople in this country had no really adequate protection. 
While not disparaging the distribution of gas masks, he 
was of the opinion that the real danger lay in the high 
explosive bomb. In many towns in Spain, he said, bomb 
proof shelters had been provided for everyone, but 
scarcely any had been built in Britain. He estimated 
that underground protection could be given to the popu- 
lation of Great Britain at a cost of about £10 per person. 
In this connection he claimed to have lost the Walsall 
by-election for the Labour candidate. He made a speech 
there in which he pointed out that the cost of burying a 
person is about £10, and that he would prefer the £10 to 
be spent before rather than after he was dead. ("n- 
fortunately he discovered too late that his chairman was 
the l( »cal undertaker ! 

In the lively discussion which followed his speeih 
it was stated that no studios or laboratories had anything 
like adequate protection for their employees at th ■ tine 
of the recent crisis, and most had done nothing at all. 
One had even removed film from fireproof laboratories 
into open wooden sheds. Professor Haldane urged ihe 
organisation of the film trade to press for adequate 
protection for its workers, instancing the successes in 
this direction already scored by other unions such as the 
aircraft workers, and pointing out that shelters under 
sixty feet of alternate layers of earth and concrete are 
the only real protection against quarter-ton bombs. With 
"2, 000. ODD workers waiting lor something to do, and the 
crying need of our crowded cities for underground park- 
ing space, the building of such shelters would serve two 
objects at once. 

The Film Group hopes to hold monthly meetings at 
which similar subjects of special interest to film workers 
will be discussed; future lecturers include "Vigilantes," 
the former League of Nations official, Jean Renoir, 
Thorold Dickinson, and Edgar Anstey. Anyone interested 
will be welcome, and can get notification of future meet- 
ings by sending his name and address to the Hon. 
Secretary, Elizabeth Coxhead, H. Lloyd Square, W.C.I. 

B.F.I. REPORT 

(Continued from previous page) 
For all its good work, the Institute must surely, if it is 
to live up to the first two words of its name, take more 
cognisance of the state of the studios and their staffs. Only 
from a healthy British film industry can it continue to 
gain real Jife and strength. 



LEAGUE OF NATIONS JURY DECIDES FOR 
EXPERIENCED FILM MAKERS 

Some time ago, "The Cine-Technician'' announced a 
competition, held by the League of Nations, for a scenario. 
On September 7th the jury of five (including Mr. Neville 
Kearney, a Governor of tic British Film Institute) issued 
their report. The scenarios, submitted by 24 authors, 
were divided into two categories — those dealing with the 
general principles and activity oi the League and those 
dealing with some special branch or aspect of League 
work. In both classes only one script w;s accepted and 
no first prize was awarded. In the first section a prize 
of 500 Swiss francs was awarded to Mr. Roger Dessort 
of Nice (France) and in the second section a prize of 200 
Swiss francs to Mr. Francois Schembry of Rakat 
( Morocco ) . 

In general the jury found in the scripts submitted 
a divorce between knowledge of film technique and know- 
ledge of the League oi Nations. They unanimously recom- 
mended that, in view of the importance of the cinema as 
i means of publicising the League's principles and 
activities, the Secretariat should enlist the services oi 
experienced film authors. With reference to the big 
general film, the jury stressed that considerations of cost 
should not be allowed to stand in the way of the best 
possible production while, with the smaller films on par- 
ticular subjects, it should be possible to combine technical 
information with a quality equal to modern documentary 
standards 



UNITY 
THEATRE 



Goldington Street 
St. Pancras, N.W.1 

Telephone : 

EUSton 539/ 



A TOUCHING TALE OF TWO INNOCENTS 
BASELY BETRAYED 




IN THE 




A PANTOMIME WITH POLITICAL POINT 

. . a cure for despondency " — New Statesman 



NIGHTLY, except Mondays, at 8.30 
Seats: 1/-, 1/6, 2/6, 3/6, Members only. 



MEMBERSHIP COSTS ONLY 1/- A YEAR, plus a shilling 
share in the club. Apply to the Secretary for details. 
6000 joined Democracy's Own Theatre Club last year ! 



108 



T HE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Jan.— Feb., L939 



CORRESPONDENCE 

Sirs, 

I enclose a cutting from the Daily Express of Decem- 
ber lltli for your amazement. 

FILM PLEA TO FLEET STREET 
By PAUL HOLT 
The Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association say in a 
statement they issued yesterday : — 

THERE is a film shortage, and a serious <>nc. From 
July i to September 30 last year there were registered 
147 foreign feature films and fifty-three British. 

Hut in the last quarter to date of this year . . . there 
were only registered 103 foreign features and twenty-one 
British. 

Those thirty-two British film unmade this year would 
have kept in employment for at least two months 10,000 
British workmen, actors, technicians. 

The City has had a had scare. The result of that scare 
is making it shut its eyes to the fact that there is a big 
market of film consumers not only needing hut demanding 
supplies. 

lUC MARKET WAITS 
For some time the Daily Express has been notable tor 

its policy — laid down, we feel, by shrewd Lord Beavcrhrook 
— of optimism, and its encouragement of the public to 
employ, buy and spend. 

The. situation is quite simple. There is a very big 
market — some 5,000 picture theatres — waiting for, demand- 
ing, the product it consumes. Where there is a demand it 
is to the advantage of finance to supply it. 

Will not Fleet-street, not just lor the sake of the cinema 
owner or any other part of the film industry, hut for the 
sake of better husiness generally, start telling the City this ? 
And keep on till this plain fact is understood. 

May 1 remind you that it is just a year since our 
worthy General Secretary almost caught his death of cold 
(and despair) in a draughty Committee Room of the House 
of Commons, listening to the arguments of .Mr. H. <i. 
Williams, and other champions of the exhibitors' interests, 
against any increase in the Film Quota or any attempt 
to separate the renters' from the exhibitors' quota in 
order to promote an adequate supply of British product 
for their screens '? 

May I remind you that the exhibitors (who, we are 
told, control around ninety per cent of the finance in- 
vested in the film trade and industry) were eminently 
successful in their fight to reduce ad absurdum the pro- 
visions of a Bill-to-Promote-Production among the other 
ten per cent ? 

And may I point out that they have only become 
aware of the short-sightedness of their policy now that a 
shortage of product is causing their own pockets to suffer? 
Is it particularly clever or even honest on their part to 
hide their blunder behind a hard-luck plea on behalf of 
the workers in the industry? 

One constructive word before my tears smudge my 
words. How about a gala premiere in one of those gaudy 
smuggeries not a hundred yards from Leicester Square, 
to provide Spectacles for Short-Sighted Exhibitors (and 
of course a slice of cake to ensure each one against a 
hungry Christmas) ? 

To avoid reprisals (being a pacifist). I enclose my 
card and beg to sign myself, 

POGGY'S LITTLE BROTHER. 

P.S. — A contribution for Pog's page: — 
So the exhibitors are watching their audiences 
dwindle? And they blame lack of product and public 
distaste for revivals? Pog's memory cannot be expected 
to go back as far as the fight over the Quota Bill, so 
here is a strictly up-to-date suggestion made in all good 
faith to the exhibitors of Great Britain : — 
(Continued at foot of next page) 



" FILMS FOR DEMOCRACY LTD." 

"Now an assortment oi New Dealers. Misdealers. 
and intellectual shell-and-pea pitchmen want to unfold 

their keesters on the motion picture sta^e to hold forth 

011 the merits ot their assorted brands ot social gamble, 
rattle-snake oil and panaceas tor the sure relict ot the 

economic and social chilblains, rheumatism, fallen arches 

ami brick-dust in the wine that the\ and the likes ot them 
have been creating lor us." 

This is the \ivid and charming way Mr. Tern 
Ramsayc. leader writer lor the American Motion Picture. 
Herald, has of explaining that a large number ot his 
more distinguished fellow countrymen are backing their 
belief in DEMOCRACY to the time of $250,000. Under 

the title "Film* foi Democracy Ltd." there is a plan 

P. make initially three films which will not lack in enter- 
tainment but whose underlying theme will be the struggle 
tc sustain and further the cause of democracy in the 
modern world. Such names among the sponsors as 
Fredric March, Fritz Lang, Marc Conelly and Walter 
Wanger BUggtst that the entertainment should be above 
the average. Manx of the most famous stars and tech- 
nicians are so keen to feel that for once they are using 
their art for something really constructive that they are 
ready to work on these films tor onlv a traction ot their 
fabulous salaries and so help to put the venture on its 
feet. 

There is a real possibility that this may bring to the 
screen the same mixture of supreme entertainment and 
thought provocation as has filled "legitimate" theatres 
tor years when such names as Eugene O'Neill and Bernard 
Shaw are billed outside. And why not? Isn't it desirable 
that the most powertul influence in the modern world 
should occasionally use that influence to reinforce a cause 
in which we all protess to believe? But for Mr. Terry 
Ramsayc and his friends DEMOCRACY, as distinct from 
children, should be heard about and not seen too much. 
Democracy has been just a little too successful in Cali- 
fornia lately, and ought not to be further encouraged. 
If people start to make films because they wish to and 
not only because they return substantial profits to the 
bankers, what will the American screen come to? Fur- 
thermore, the films may be successful; and if they are 
successful the people will ask tor more like that. There 
is no end to the inconvenience these people may cause. 

It is a venture which we shall watch over here with 
great interest, some of us with envy. I think most British 
technicians will wish to say "Good Luck" to these men 
and women who are trying to broaden the scope and 
enrich the art of the screen. 

CORRESPONDENCE 

(Continued from previous column) 

I. — Make your cinema bomb-proof (or transfer the 
seats to a disused coal-mine). 

•2.— Advertise as follows : YOU ARE SAFER HERE 
THAN IN YOUR OWN HOME. 

BRING YOUR KNITTING. 

COOKING IS NOT PERMITTED IN 
THE FRONT ROWS OF THE CIRCLE OR THE 
SEATS IMMEDIATELY BELOW. 

(This is for fair play for the upper classes. All the Best 
People have to do is bring the cook-general and let her do 
the cooking in the five pennies). 

TOWARDS MEAL TIMES THE HOUSE LIGHTS 
WILL HE RAISED OR LOWERED BY PLEBISCITE. 

NO SELF-DETERMINATION FOR MINORITIES. 
(Mais ca, e'est une autre histoire et beaucoup plus sale. 
Meaning: But that there, it is another history, for which 
we haven't room). 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



169 



MAINTENANCE OF A DEVELOPER BY 
CONTINUOUS REPLENISHMENT 

By Ralph M. Evans, of Kodak Research Laboratories 



IN the handling of motion picture film on continuously 
processing machines, or of roll fiinis on intermittent 
machines, it becomes essential that the developer 
should always have the same properties, not only from 
hour to hour but from month to month. This is true 
largely because it is not economically practical to vary 
the time ol development to any great extent, nor to alter 
the amount of exposure given to the material in order 
to compensate for changes in developing power. A single 
reel of motion picture negative may be printed from three 
to five hundred times over a period of a week or more 
and then be printed spasmodically as orders are received 
over a period ot years. To change the printing exposures 
irom day to day would be much more costly than proper 
maintenance ot the bath. Variation in the bath also 
would not permit the maintenance ot consistent quality. 

Accordingly, the Larger motion picture laboratories 
are confronted with the problem ot maintaining their 
developers at a constant level at all times. Since, from 
the nature of the problem, replenishing must be con- 
tinuous, it is apparent that the situation is relatively 
Complex. It is possible, however, to reduce the problem 
to a relatively simple mathematical equation and deduce 
from this certain important rules for procedure. Because 
of the lack of previous literature on the subject the fol- 
lowing discussion is relatively complete. 

It should be stated at the outset that nothing short 
of complete running chemical analyses ot the solutions 
and a frequently modified replenishing formula is possible 
for a complete solution of the problem. These extremes 
are seldom necessary because of the variations which 
may be permitted and the possibility of photographic 
tests. To the writer's knowledge such chemical analyses 
are not at the present time being carried out in any of 
the major laboratories, although the importance of the 
problem and the possibilities for economy would seem to 
make them distinctly desirable. 

Maintaining a solution constant involves correcting 
for variations caused both 1>\ air and by silver halide 
Both of these are oxidising agents and their effect varies 
to some extent with the nature ol the devloping agent. 
Lehmann and Tausch* have shown that when an alkaline 
mixture of elon and hydroquinone is oxidised by air, only 
the hydroquinone reacts. Only after the hydroquinone is 
nearly used up does elon take any appreciable part in the 
reation. The chief product of the oxidation is hydroquinone 
monosulphonate. which is formed according to the follow- 
ing equation, 

(' B H 4 f()H|„ + ()., +'2Na o S0. ) = ( , G H,(0H). > .S(). j Na + 
Na a S0 4 + NaOH 



*TauSch E. Thesis. Dresden, 1934. *Lehmann K. and 
Tausch E. l'hot. Korr., 7/ 17 and 35 (1935). See also : — 
*Seyewetz A. and Szymson S. Bull, soc franc. Phot., 21, 71 
and 32b (1934). *Pinn<w J. /.. Elektrochem, 21, 380 (1915) 
and previous literature on hydroquinone quoted bv Pinnow. 



The equation for elon is the same except that elon mono- 
sulphonate is formed. A small percentage of the oxidised 
developer does not form the monosulphonate but passes 
on to more complex structures. The end product of this 
small percentage is a brow n compound or mixture of com- 
pounds of the humie acid type. It is this portion of the 
oxidation products which causes the familiar stain of 
severely exhausted developers. It appears that not over 
0% of the oxidised developing agent passes into this 
form. 

When an MQ developer is oxidised by silver bromide, 
however, as it is in the normal process of developing an 
image, it is not the hydroquinone but the elon which plays 
the more important role. Under most conditions there is 
probably a considerable amount ot hydroquinone also 
oxidised simultaneously. The equation is 

C 6 H 4 (0H) 3 + 2AgBr + Na 2 S03 = C 6 H3(0H) 2 .S0 3 Na + 
2Ag + NaBr + HBr 
for hydroquinone and a similar equation exists for elon. 

Extended oxidation by air or silver bromide will pro- 
duce considerable quantities ol the disulphonates of both 
hydroquinone and elon but since such badly exidised 
solutions are not in use they need not be discussed here. 

Elon monosulphonate may be used as a developing 
agent, as was pointed out by Tausch, and hydroquinone 
sulphonate as a developer has been known tor many 
years. Both ol these compounds, however, are very 
weak in their action and their presence in an MQ de- 
veloper in small quantities produces no appreciable 
change in the bath. To the extent that these compounds 
in any given solution form, they may be considered simply 
as so much hydroquinone or elon removed. Some of the 
other products formed are not at all negligible and are 
considered below in detail. 

The present discussion will be restricted to elon- 
hydroquinone developers which have in their original 
formulae only suphite, alkaline salts, and soluble halides, 
in addition to the developing agents themselves. In order 
to generalise the problem the specific nature of the alkali 
will not be assumed. 

Accordingly, in a fresh batch ot developer solution 
there is present : 

1. Elon, 

2. Hydroquinone, 

3. Sodium sulphite. 

4. Alkaline salts, 

.">. Soluble bromide (usually potassium). 
Oxidation of this solution by air w ill produce : 

6. Hydroquinone monosulphonate, 

7. Sodium sulphate, 

8. Free hydroxide (NaOH), 

9. Staining developer by-products. 
Oxidation by silver bromide emulsions (which always 

contain a small percentage of silver iodide) will produce 
in addition : 

10. More soluble bromide, 

11. Soluble iodide up to equilibrium with the 
film, 



170 



T H E (IX E - TECHNICIAN 



Jan. Feb., 1989 



32. Elon monosulphonate, 

13. Slight traces of elon and bydroquinone 
disulphon'ates, 

14. Free acid (HBr), 

L5. Temporary (up to a few hours after use) con-; 
centrations of unreduced, dissolved silver 
complexes. 

The alkaline water solution will produce: 

17. Dissolved gelatin, 

18. Probable degradation products of gelatin. 

In addition there will he a gradual accumulation oi 
substances present in the emulsion of the tilin which 
dissolve out into the develop* r. Such substances are 
sensitising dyes (in negative materials), more soluble 
bromide, etc. Dirt, calcium carbonate, and extraneous 
matter will also enter the tanks cither on the film or in 
the water, and there arc probably small amounts of other 
substances produced by chemical reactions of which then- 
is at present no know ledge. 

The problem of replenishing such a solution is two- 
told. Starting with Irish solution the bath must be 
brought, to a state of dynamic equilibrium with film, air. 
and replenisher without permitting the photographic 
properties to change appreciably. This equilibrium must 
then be maintained in the lace of changing conditions 
and, in general, with only the replenisher as an indepen- 
dent variable, since film and air quantities cannot be 
varied at will. In a Large industrial laboratory the amount 
of solution in the machines may be approximately 10,000 
gallons and the amount oi film to be processed may be 
from five to ten million feet of motion picture positive 
per week. Correspondingly lower figures hold for negative 
handling. 

It is customary to connect batteries of developing 
machines by a system of piping in such a way that all 
the developer may be made to circulate past a single 
point. The volume of the solution is, of course, held 
constant. 

Dry film passes into the developer at a constant rate 
during the operation of a machine and carried with it a 
small amount of air, both on its surfaces and in the 
perforations. The latent image on this film enables the 
developer to reduce to metallic silver a quantity of silver 
halide which varies widely, depending on the nature of 
the subject matter. Motion picture positive film contains 
per thousand feet, roughly fifty grams of metallic silver 
in the form of halide salts. Of this, amounts varying 
from practically none up to nearly the full amount may 
be developed, depending on the subject of the reel. Thus 
sound track, or black titles on a clear ground, may repre- 
sent only a few grams of silver per thousand feet, while 
a reel consisting largely of night scenes and the like may 
represent forty grams or more of reduced silver. On the 
average, approximately one quarter of the silver is 
ordinarily utilised, or from 10 to 15 grams. The remainder 
may be recovered by an efficient hypo recovery system. 
With respect to a given developing machine, however, 
the total average amount of silver reduced per clay is 
not constant unless care is taken to vary the type of 
work being handled. With an efficient circulating system, 
good mixing, and several developing machines operating 
simultaneously, satisfactory averaging of the work on all 
machines is possible. 

The wet film after development passes out of the 
developing solution into the rinse water, earning with 



it a considerable quantity of the solution. This quantity 
varies with the speed of the film, the design of the 
machine, and the efficiency of such devices as may be 
present to prevent "carry over." If the surface of the 
film carries no surplus layer of liquid there is in the 
gelatin of motion picture positive approximately one 
quart of solution per thousand feet. High speed and 
absence of devices to remove the surface layer may 
triple this figure. This solution loss, then, represents a 
definite minimum of liquid which must be added to the 
system as a whole to maintain its volume constant. This 
quantity frequently is insufficient and more must bo bled 
away so that the desired amount of replenisher may be 
introduced without overflowing the tanks. 

Since there is seldom occasion to refill such a system 
completely with entirely fresh solutions the dynamic 
equilibrium which must be maintained after ageing will 
be considered first. Since fresh replenisher is constantly 
entering the system, and developer which has nearly the 
photographic properties of the bath as a whole is con- 
stantly leaving it. considerable economy can be effected 
by choosing the proper position for the point on the 
system at which the two occur. They should be so 
situated that the "'bleed" by which solution is removed 
occurs in the system just before the point at which the 
replenisher enters the system. Theoretically, some 
economy could also be effected by having the fresher 
developer at the end of the machine into which dry film 
is being fed and the more exhausted developer removed 
from the other end. This sets up an unstable balance, 
however, which breaks down when the machine is stopped 
and so leads to variations over which there is little con- 
trol. 

It the system is so designed that perfect mixing may 
be assumed at all times, an equation may be written for 
the grow th or decrease of any constituent of the solution. 
For convenience in computation, the figures will be given 
in the metric system for 10,000 gallons of developer 
replenished at a rate of 1\ gallons per minute. 

If h — replenisher rate in litres per ininute = bleed rate 
v— total volume of the system in litres 
a' = initial total amount of a given substance 
r' — amount of the given substance at time t 
V= amount of the substance added per minute 

then bdt— x'di — dx ox dt- /, 

V k'—-X 
V 

this equation has as a solution 

v v b b v 

1 = - log or - x'— V— [k a) e 

b e h v v 

(k - -x) 

V 

A rather obvious axiom which greatly simplifies 
the calculations may be stated as follows. A sub- 
Stance which is being formed in the solution at a constant 
rate may be considered as being introduced in the re- 
plenisher. Since material is also actually added in the 
replenisher it is convenient to convert the above equation 
to Concentrations rather than amounts. 

k' 

set k — — — concentration of material in replenisher 

b 



Jan. Feb., 1939 



T H B GIN E - T E C H X I C I A X 



171 



a 

a — — — initial concentration of the material in 
y the system 

x 

x ~ — — concentration of the materia] in system 
v at time t 

The equation ;na\ now be converted to these 
variables, giving : 

bt 

x=k — (k — a)e— — as a final solution. 

v 

This equation holds for the growth of the concen- 
tration of any substance in the solution whether the initial 
value is zero or finite. An example will make its appli- 
cation clear. If the initial concentration of potassium 
bromide is assumed to be one gram per litre, then a=l. 
Other figures may be assumed as follows: 

!j=U) litres per minute 

v =40,000 litres. 
If several high speed developing machines are all in 
operation on the system the amount of film developed 
may be 1,00(1 feet per minute. From this quantity of film 
we may expect that bromide in amount equivalent to 
about 15 grains of silver will be released. This is roughly 
the equivalent of 15 grams per minute of potassium 
bromide. Since complete mixing has been assumed this 
amount may be considered for convenience as entering in 
the replenisher which, of itselt. would contain none. This 
gives k= 1.5 grams per litre of replenisher solution per 
minute. 

Thf equation for < . the concentration of bromide in 
tlic bath a-! a whole at times t. becomes 

10 

ar=1.5.-"(i.5-l)< ■ t 

-JIM KX) 

t 

or x = 1.5 — .5e— 

401 m ) 

Since such a system if operated long enough will 
come to equilibrium at a constant concentration of bromide 
it is of interest to determine what this equilibrium con- 
centration is. Substituting £ = infinity it is seen that the 
last part of the expression becomes zero and t- 1.5 grams 
per litre of potassium bromide. That is, the bromide has 
increased to the concentration calculated above by divid- 
ing the amount formed per minute by the number of 
litres per minute of replenisher added. This illustrates 
the fact that the equilibrium concentration of all ingredi- 
ents except those used up in the process (developing 
agents and sulphite) tends to become equal to that of the 
replenisher solution. 

It is instructive to consider the time taken to attain 
this equilibrium. Because in theory the limit is approached 
exponentially, it is only possible to determine the time 
required to attain a given percentage. For practical 
purposes 1.45 grains per litre of bromide is certainly in- 
distinguishable from 1.50. To find the time required to 
reach this value (97% of equilibrium) it is convenient to 
rewrite the equation so that it gives / in terms of r. 

That is 

v (k—a) 2.3v (k — a) 

i=( P l0 % ik-x^T log io 

Under the above conditions then 

r(2.3) f 40000 "l (1.5-1) 

L 10 J 10 (1. 51.45) 



and t— 9200 minutes or a little over six days of con- 
tinuous operation. 

The mixing in the above example has been assumed 
perfect. In general, if the inlets and outlets are properly 
placed the time taken would tend to he less than the 
above rather than more. If there is a considerable amount 
of liquid carried over by the film it may be assumed that 
this liquid is somewhat richer in bromide than the solution 
in general. In this case the amount of bromide removed 
per minute is greater than that assumed and the equilib- 
rium concentration is somewhat less. The time taken 
to reach the same percentage of equilibrium remains the 
same. 

An exception was made in the application of these 
equations to calculations of the developer and the 
sulphite which are being exhausted. If the replenisher 
is so increased in the concentration of these ingredients 
(above that used in the fresh mix) that the amount used 
up is exactly equal to the amount added there will 
obviously be no change. If under the above conditions 
1.') grams of silver are reduced, then from the equation 
for the chemical reaction given earlier, the amount of 
developer used up would be approximately 7 grams if it 
were all hydroquinone and 12 grams if it were all elon 
(one mole of developer reduces two moles of silver 
bromide). In a positive type developer, we may assume 
that approximately ten times as much clou reacts as 
does hydroquinone. although this figure must be deter- 
mined for every formula and for every developing time. 
If this figure is assumed, then 0.63 grams of hydro- 
quinone and 10.0 grams of elon are used up per minute. 
These amounts must be supplied by the replenisher. If 
the rate of supply of the replenisher is 10 litres per min- 
ute, then .063 grams per litre of hydroquinone and 1.09 
grams per litre of elon must he present in addition to the 
amount present in the regular formula. By the same 
reasoning 0.8 grams per litre of anhydrous sodium sulphite 
is needed, but such a small amount may be neglected. 

The foregoing calculations do not include the effect of 
air on the solution, ft has been shown that this affects 
only the hydroquinone and the sulphite and it obviously 
depends to a very large extent on the system itself. 
Variable sources of air are the pumps, the speed of the 
film, and the free air surfaces. If it is assumed, for 
illustration, that the entire system absorbs and reacts 
with the oxygen in one cubic foot of air per minute, then 
the hydroquinone equivalent of this oxj-gen equals 27.2 
grams per minute (7(30 mm. pressure and 20°C). The 
sulphite equivalent is roughly (52 grams. Replenishing at 
the rate of ten litres per minute, therefore, it would be 
necessary tn add 2.7 grams of hydroquinone and 6.2 grams 
per litre of sulphite in addition to the amount necessary 
to compensate for development of the films. Xote that 
this is tor only one cubic foot of air absorbed per minute 
in a ten thousand gallon system. Actual figures which 
would show the true extent of aerial oxidation in such a 
system are not available. It is apparent however, that it 
is economical to go to some lengths to reduce aeration of 
the solution. 

Digressing for a moment, it should be noted that 
the Lehmann and Tausch equations quoted above indicate 
a way in which the actual air absorption may be readily 
measured. Sodium sulphate is formed only during aerial 
oxidation. This product does not appear when silver halide 
is the oxidising agent. After a bath has been in operation 
for some time and has come to equilibrium with respect 
to this sulphate a simple analysis will give its concentra- 
tion in grams per litre. By the reasoning used above, 



172 



T H E C J N E - T E ( ' H X I ( ' I A N 



Jan.— Eel)., 1989 



this quantity multiplied by the replenisher rate in litres 
per minute gives the average amount of sulphate 
produced per minute by the air. One mole of oxygen 
produces one mole of sodium sulphate, to a good first 
approximation. Since the ratio of the molecular weights 
is roughly 4.. r >, the number of grams per minute of sul- 
phate divided by this figure gives the number of grains 
of oxygen per minute. One cubic loot of air at 760 mm. 
pressure and 20°C. contains 7.9 grams of oxygen. Hen" 
the number of grams of oxygen pel minute divided by 
7.9 gives the number of cubic feet of air absorbed par 
minute. The importance of obtaining this figure in such 
a way that is accurately averaged over a. considerable' 
length of time is obvious. 

The equilibrium concentration of any ingredient as 
well as its concentration at any time alter the start of the 
system may be calculated by the methods already out- 
lined. If the initial concentration (<t) of a compound is 
zero, as in the case of the sulphate, for example, the 
equations are simplified to 

bt 
v 

x - k >l-e ) 

2.3v b 

and £ = /og 1fl ( ) 

b iU k-x 

where the letters have the same significance as before. 
The time taken to reach 90% of the equilibrium concen- 
tration does not change since it depends only on the ratio 
h 

( — ) of replenisher to total volume. 

v 

ft is now possible to consider the problem of starting 
with a fresh bath and bringing it to equilibrium without 
serious change in its photographic properties. The prin- 
ciple involved is apparent. For al! the ingredients that 
are of importance it is only necessary that the original 
formula contain the equilibrium amounts desired and 
that the replenisher formula he correct. Under these 
circumstances, there will be no change in coming to 
equilibrium. These equilibrium concentrations may be 
calculated easily, since for all cases they are equal to 
the amount of the substances formed per minute divided 
by the number of litres of replenisher which is to be sup- 
plied to the solution per minute. The elon, hydroquinone. 
and sulphite concentrations of the original solution are 
arbitrary, but a correct replenisher must contain the 
same amounts plus the amount per minute to be used up 
in the machine. The total alkali concentration must be 
the same in both cases except that since hydroxide is 
released by air oxidation and silver halide oxidation 
releases acid, either acid or hydroxide, respectively, must 
be added to the replenisher if the rate of production of 
the one during use of the bath exceeds that of the other. 
The addition should preferably be in the form of sodium 
hydroxide or hydrochloric acid so that the alkaline salt 
equilibrium of the solution is not upset. Silver iodide in 
infinitesimal amounts may have to be added. Anti-toggants 
present in used developers may call for the addition of 
small amounts of anti-foggants to fresh solutions. 

It is important to note in this connection that the 
alkalinity of the hath at equilibrium cannot be calculated 
by the equations given here. It can, however, be held 
ait that of the original mix. When free acid or hydroxide 



is added to a complex solution such as is used for 
developers, the change in alkalinity or y/H of the solution 
depends more on the nature and concentration of the com- 
pounds present than on the amount of the acid or alkali 
added. It is entirely possible to calculate the amount of 
hydroxide formed by air (from sulphate determinations) 
and the acid released on development (from bromide 
analyses) and to correct for these by acid or alkali in the 
replenishes .Measurements of //ll will show whether or 

not excess has been added by indicating a change in 
alkalinity, although the measurements must he very 
precise if they are to be of value, in general, however, 
pH measurements cannot be used to calculate the amount 
which it is necessary to add unless careful calibration of 
the particular solution has been made in these terms. 

While some assumptions have been made in arriving 
at the equations above, the only serious discrepancy to 
be expected is that due to incomplete mixing in the 
machine. This can be estimated satisfactorily only for a 
given system. A further assumption has been made, 
namely that air and silver oxidatiiai are always present 
simultaneously. In those systems in which it is custom- 
ary to circulate the solutions for a long time before the 
film is started, this difference must be taken into account. 
For this problem there seems to be no complete solution 
except a different replenisher formula for each condition. 

It is now practical to consider the economic phase 
of the problem. The factor which determines the con- 
centration of all the products has been shown to be the 
replenisher rate, if a definite complete formula for the 
hath is prescribed and cannot be altered, this is where 
the matter stops ; there are only one replenisher formula 
and one replenisher rate possible. Assume for instance, 
that the formation of bromide is the most important 
reaction and that the original formula, which is not to be 
changed, contains 0.5 grams per litre of this substance. 
Then if 1;") grains per minute are formed by the develop- 
ment of the film, the replenisher rate lor the system must 
be 30 litres a minute regardless of its size. The formula 
of the replenisher is then fixed by the amounts of sub- 
stances such as developers which are used up. 

The determination of the machine formula which 
will give the most economical operation is quite another 
matter. Certain things are readily determined. Since 
as many litres are thrown away as are supplied, the 
formula should be as dilute as possible in all its original 
constituents except bromide. Since the permissable 
concentration of reaction products formed determines the 
replenisher rate, the equilibrium concentration of these 
should be high. Fom this point on, the cost of the 
individual chemicals becomes important and a great many 
questions of quantity against cost and photographic 
quality arise. The answers to these questions wall vary 
so much with individual conditions that no direct general 
solution solution is possible. A few of the opposing facts 
may be noted. Alkali is cheaper than developing agent 
and so should be in high quality so that developing 
agent may be reduced. Too high a pH value and too little 
developer gives high sensitivity to bromide and interferes 
with picture quality. High p~K also usually increases the 
rate of air oxidation. Sulphite is cheaper than hydro- 
quinone but not enough so to warrant using very large 
quantities. Larger quantities confer only slightly better 
keeping qualities on the bath than reasonable amounts. 
Hydroquinone is cheaper than elon but the two are not 
entirely equivalent photographically, as we have seen. 



Jan. — Feb.. 1939 



T H E C J N E - T E C H N I C I A N 



17:-} 



The solution should be as dilute as is permissable. Too 
great a dilution, however, introduces a large difference 
between the main bath and the replenish er. This in turn 
accentuates circulation non-uniformities and makes for a 
bad situation it any of the main body of the solution is 
lost through leakage. In the absence of other considera- 
tions the longer the time of development and the higher 
the temperature the more efficient becomes the utilisation 
of the developer. Limits are obviously set by the size of 
the machine, by aerial oxidation, and by the physical 
properties of the emulsion gelatin as well as by photo- 
graphic standards. A high degree of agitation of the 
developer at the surface of the film is desirable for uni- 
formity and considerably increases the efficiency of the 
bath. A saving by this means is not to be expected be- 
cause there is a tendency toward excessive aeration. 
Considerable heating of the solution also puts an extra 
load on the cooling system. 

It is true in most cases that the greatest possibility 
o* affecting economy and at the same time making 
quality more uniform lies not so much in the use of any 
of the above devices as in obtaining knowledge of the 
exact status of the bath at equilibrium. With tins know- 
ledge it is possible to calculate the correct minimum 
amount of replenisher which may be used. 

Nothing has as yet been said concerning methods b\ 
which the concentrations of the components of the bath 
may be checked. Such routine tests should be considered 
a matter of necessity, increase in aeration alone, due to 
the sudden leaking of a pump or to a similar cause, may 
throw the developer badly off standard. Photographic 
tests have, to date, been nearly the only ones available. 
These are usually satisfactory (except lor the time 
element) but leave two important possibilities un- 
measured. In the first place, until vcr\ recent years, 
there has been no method for checking on gradual changes 
since there has been no way of knowing whether the 
film or the developer has changed. The present constancj 
of motion picture positive film characteristics has practic- 
all\ eliminated this problem. Secondly it is entirely 
possible, and, in fact likely, that if the formula for the 
replenisher is varied to keep the photographic properties 
constant there will be a progressive change in both the 
photographic quality (as distinct from gamma and speed) 
and in the composition of the bath. Sudden shifts in 
the quantity of oxygen absorbed bj the system may 
greatly vary the hydroquinone concentration. A sudden 
leak in the system, if it is of the constant level automatic 
replenishing type, will introduce huge quantities oi 
replenisher unintentionally 

In order to guard against these contingencies and to 
make certain that no large changes are taking place un- 
intentionally, some sort of a chemical analysis should be 

made for all the photographically active constituents. 

The following analytical scheme, abridged from the 
articles of Lehmann and Tausch and the Tausch thesis 
already referred to, represents a workable system. Much 
simpler and faster methods must be devised before 
analytical methods can become generally applicable 
(The hydroquinone analysis given below is a modification 
by Lehmann and Tausch of the method of Pinn0W&). 

To determine the concentrations of clou and hydro- 
quinone use is made of two facts. First, since the 



Pinnow J. '/■■ fur Analytische Chem. 50, 155 (ion). 



oxidation products for the most part are the monosul- 
phonates of the compounds, they are not extractable from 
water solutions by immiscible organic' solvents such as 
ether. Second, while hydroquinone may be extracted 
quantitatively from water it the solution is acidified this 
is not true for elon since it forms acid salts. Elon may 
be quantitatively extracted only in mildly alkaline solu- 
tions (yvH approximately 7.(5). At this y*H hydroquinone 
is also extracted, so that it is necessary to remove the 
hydroquinone first. 

The procedure used by Tausch w as as follows : 
3"). 7 c.c. of developer solution were acidified with 
sulphuric acid to the point where a few cc. of hydroxide 
would again make the solution alkaline (permanent blue 
coloration of Congo red paper). The carbon dioxide and 
sulphur dioxide released were removed by evacuation. 
A few drops of methyl orange solution were added, and 
the whole was made up to .">(> cc-. ; 35 cc. of this solution 
was then extracted with peroxide-free ether for 45 min- 
utes, and the ether solution separated. The acid water 
residue containing the elon was then made alkaline, 
using methyl orange as indicator. A further extraction 
('id cc. of ether) for 45 minutes removed the elon 
quantitatively. After evaporation of the ether the two 
(•(impounds were then titrated with iodine in water 
solution containing sodium bicarbonate. From the 
iodine used up the amount of the agents was calculated 
for each case. 

To determine the sulphite concentration a modifica- 
tion of well known methods was used. A weakly 
acidified iodine solution (1(1(1 cc.) containing an excess of 
iodine was placed in a flask and 2 cc. of developer were 
accurately introduced. Alter a short time the solution 
was back-titrated with thiosulphate to the starch-iodide 
end point. 

Alkali was determined b\ titration with acid. 
Sulphate was determined b\ precipitating with barium 
salt and weighing the precipitate. Soluble bromide was 
obtained in the same manner alter precipitation with 
silver. 

By means of these tests it is possible to gauge 
accurately the proper rate oj replenishment and the 
proper constitution tor the replenisher. In addition, 
measurement ol //H would give a still further check on 
the state of affairs in the bath. It cannot be over 
emphasised, however, that all these tests taken together 

do not specify the photographic quality of the product. 

They insure merely that the Strength of the developer 
does not change. Sulphide-forming bacteria causing fog, 
by-products of development giving stain, and loss of 
quality from other sources, must be guarded against by 
an expert capable of recognising small changes. The 
present analysis is satisfactory tor first order control only. 
As has been pointed out. however, the replenisher 
calculations hold lor any product which is continuously 
formed in the bath. For this reason accurate determina- 
tion of one product makes it possible to calculate the 
others at once. 



The Annual Repori of the Workers' Educational 
Association discdoses that the Association is making in- 
creasing use of films (specially of documentary films on 
Social and Educational subjects). 



174 



T H E CINE-TECHNICIAN 



Jan. Feb., L980 



Recent Publications 



The Amplification and Distribution cf Sound, In A. E. 

Greenlees, A.M.I.E.E. Chapman and Hall. 10 6. 

This book is intended primarily for those whose j<>l> 
is the installation and operation of Public Address equip- 
ment. The author sets out to explain the principles of 
operation of the equipment necessary to distributive 
sound lrom a microphone, radio sets or records to an 
audience, and to describe bow this is done. Only the 
most elementary knowledge of mathematics and elec- 
tricity is assumed in the reader, and this book will 
therefore appeal most to the less advanced technician. 

However, quite a lot of ground is covered in the 
course o* 250 pages. 

The significance and use of the decibel is clearh 
explained in an opening chapter dealing with fundamen- 
tals. The calculations of reactance and impedance are 
given, and the functioning of chokes and transformers 
explained. The principles of operation of various types 
of low frequency amplifiers are considered, together with 
methods of measuring their performance. Methods of 
tone control and volume expansion for record reproduction 
are included. 

The construction of the carbon, condenser, moving 
coil, ribbon and cystal microphones is described, with 
observations on their characteristic behaviour and a 
table is given showing the advantages and disadvantages 
of each. The statement of the output level of a micro- 
phone is explained. Loudness of sound is discussed 
with relation to its effect on the ear and the definition 
of loudness in terms of the phone is explained. .Methods 
of coupling microphones and pick-ups to amplifiers are 
dealt with in a section on mixer circuits. A chapter on 
loudspeakers is included, and the problem of controlling 
the volume of sound from the loudspeaker without loss 
of efficiency and without effecting the frequency and 
response explained. 

Actual installations of a public address system are 
considered with relation to the distribution of sound to 
the audience, the power required, the effect of acoustic- 
conditions, avoiding feed-back from the loudspeaker to 
the microphone, and so on. The distribution to a multiple 
system of loudspeakers is discussed, and several 
numerical examples are included to illustrate methods of 
obtaining correct matching of the impedance of the 
speakers to the output impedance of the amplifier. 
Observations on the drawing up of a specification for the 
wiring up of a permanent installation are included. 

Attention is drawn to the importance of routine 
maintenance tests and illustrations are given of some 
faults that may arise. 

Tt will therefore be seen that the author covers his 
subject well in a text-book that can readily be followed 
by anyone engaged in the industry of the amplification 
of sound and the relaying of it to an audience. 

L. E. O. 

Report on Physical Education and the Film. British 
Film Institute. 1/- 

The report of the Committee of experts (the film ones 
were Kimberlev and Miss Mary Field) set up by the 
B.P.I., to examine into films dealing with physical 
education— what films there are. what there should be. 



and bow they ought to In- made. Physical education is 
interpreted in its widest sense, to include sport, etc. 

The conclusions are expressed in sententious school' 
masterish style that is even comic when, as often, it is 
solemnly announcing the obvious. Pesides the platitudes, 
however, are impeccably sag" and sound observations 
about the best manner lor physical education films which 

should faultlessly guide the educationist and film-maker 
engaged in this genre. Included also is a thorough list of 
the films of this type available, giving details of some 
120 items. The Committee deserves congratulations on 
such a useful report. Further, it ; s gratifying to read of 
the generous co-operation of Gaumont-British instruc- 
tional with the Committee. Such enlightenment is not 
common in our business and should always be com- 
mended. 

I.M. 

One Minus Two, b\ Henri Troyat. Duckworth. 1 6 
The author presents a fairly interesting psychological 
study of a family whose one and only child achieves a 
brief fame as a child prodigy in the French film studios. 
The father, an actor of the old school who has never 
achieved more than minor successes in provincial theatres, 
bitterly resents the adulation which his son receives. The 
tragedy of his final humiliation when the boy also "rlo] s" 
after a first great success is movingly described. 

R.B. 



[THE CINE TECHNICIAN 



SIX ISSUES A YEAR (January, March, May, 
July, September, November). 

Associate Editors: 

Max Anderson, Sidney Cole, George H. Elvin, 
Kenneth Cordon. 



9d. per copy; 1 Id. post free. 5/6 per annum, 
post free. 

Special A.C.T. Members' Rates. 

6d. per copy; 8d. post free. 4/- per annum, 
post free. 

Order through any A.C.T. Studio, Laboratory 
or Newsreel representative, any branch of 
W. H. Smith & Son, Ltd., or direct from 
the A.C.T., 145, Wardour Street, W.l. 



Jan.— Feb., 1939 



T H E 



CIXE-TECH NIC 1 A X 



175 



£20 REWARD 

Lost 24th November, 1938, from Car 
Park at Angel Hotel, Brentford, a Newman 
Sinclair Camera No. 370 with reflex finder 
and three lenses U ins. FL.9, 2 ins. FL.9 
and 3 ins. FL.9 in Leather Case. 

Apply: HART & Co., 
23 LAWRENCE LANE, LONDON, E.C.2 



History of the Film, by Maurice Bardecke and Eobert 
Brasillach (translated and edited by Iris Barry). 

Allen and Unwin. 18/- 

This book is by two Frenchmen with a strong sense of 
the cinematic importance of France. They have conse- 
quently an outlook at times instructive to us. Melies, 
whose stature increases as time tracks away from him, 
they treat as fully as he merits, and their account of Bene 
( lair is the best I have read. They recall the importance 
of Max hinder, too little known to the contemporary 
technician. Their discussion of the Scandinavian film is 
good. They sum up de Mille bitingly — "(his films were) 
based on ]). W. Griffith, blending a strong dose of 
puritanism with the morality of the French theatre." 
They remind us of a little-known aspect of Edison — "pas- 
sionately intent on protecting his own interests. He 
actually bore little resemblance to the idyllic savant whom 
we were taught to admire in our childhood. Litigious, 
rapacious, he became a positive menace to film business- 
men, who never knew when the Sheriff would serve a 
subpoena of Edison's on them next." And I like their 
anecdote of the French director Zecca who said one day, 
"I am rewriting Shakespeare. The wretched fellow has 
left out the most marvellous things.'" He had the right 
approach. 

But their sense of historical proportion is bad — 
elephantiasis in places, stunted growth in others. While 
they find space for Finland and China, the}' make only 
two brief references to the industry in this country (one 
of them, inevitably, to "Henry VIII"). They appreciate 
Jean Epstein's "Finis Terrae" as an emergence of docu- 
mentary but don't take their own opportunity of going 
on to discuss the English work in this field. Iris Barry, 
in her editorial comments, makes similar complaints in 
regard to America. The use of increasingly rapid cutting, 
for example, is attributed to Abel Gance. The name, of 
course, is Griffith. But Miss Barry herself is also guilty. 
In a footnote on Film Libraries, she mentions all of 
them except that of the British Film Institute. 

Chaplin, by the way. is described as being born in 
a London suburb. Kenningtoa must be looking up. 

Pictures like "Minion Dollar Legs," Paul Fejos's 
"Lonesome," and Jacques Feeder's "Crairtquebille" arc 
gratefully remembered, but the estimates of "Tabu" and 
Victor Trivas's "No Man's /auk/" are too grudging. On 
the whole the authors are too sentimental about the silent 
film and too readx to bemoan that all ait disappeared 
from the cinema witli its death. 

They have some extraordinary approaches and 
opinions. They insist on treating all Bussian-born direc- 
tors, wherever they work, as examples of a peculiar thing 
they call the Russian genius, which they think operates 
"independently of social and political forms." They mix 
up Kisenstem and Kirsanov, Pudovkin and Tourjansky 
in a most irritating and illogical way. It was not until 
the Fascist reconstruction in Italy was really under way. 
they declare, that any interesting films appeared. Has 
anybody seen these interesting Italian films'' And n is 
meaningless to say the Nazi "Triumph des Willens" that 
it "is a film of massed crowds and processions (some of 
which are magnificently handled). Its ideology is opposed 
to that of Marx but produces a similar effect." 

There is a bad error on pa^e 335, where reference is 
made to microphones instead of loudspeakers. 



CAMERA REQUIRED 

Preferably fully equipped, tripod, 
motor, batteries, etc. Send full 
details and price required to : 

" R," c/o A.C.T. 
145 Wardour Street, W.I. 



NEWMAN - SINCLAIR 

WANTED 

Send full details of price, equip- 
ment, etc,, to: 

"S," c/o A.C.T. 
145 Wardour Street, W.I. 



FOR SALE 

owing to illness 
STILL EXPERTS FAVOURITE OUTFIT 

Nearly New. 

10 x 8 Camera by Kodak - 9 Double Slides 
Back Adapter to take \ Plates. 

Light strong stand with all movements and 
case. Dark cloth, etc. 

14m. f8 lens. Kodak developing 3 gal. tanks 

Washing tanks, 10x8 1 / 1 pt. and 1 /2pt. tanks 

WHAT OFFERS? Cine-Technician, Cer. 2366 



S.H.C. 



170 



THE (J N F - T E 



CHNICIAN 



Jan.— Feb., L939 





-MB ' 




"HERE! YOU ARE, OLD CHAP- 
AND A VERY MERRY XMAS* 



To my One Million Readers 
the 

Compliments of the 
Season 



-Pigswill 



We've written of much 

In the months gone by, 

And these pages of brilliant verse 

Have brought joy to your lives 

You get kind to your wives, 

And the drawings — they 

Could have been worse. 

A technician's adventure 

We gave you in full 

with "digs" at the "foreign invasions," 

And stories of Sagas, 

Of Quickies and Quotas, 

And the racket of Friends and Eelations; 

On going abroad we gave good advice — 

Some friends in a land far away 

Said, "Thanks very much, 

You've sure got the touch, 

But we're here — and here we shall stay." 



However the Season 

Of cheer has arrived ; 

At least, that's what we are told ; 

To forget other's vice 

For some days we're quite nice, 

Then back to the "have and to hold." 

Sounds somewhat cynical 

To you, perhaps? 

And my card reproduced here above, 
Is lacking in holly, 
It is'nt so jolly, 

And doesn't say much about love? 
There are things more important 
To help us along — 

So I trust you all had a square meal : 

Well, no more dope, 

And my one sincere hope 

That you all get a really Square Deal. 



Tested by time . . . 

approved by experience 

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Pitchfords 

Published by the Proprietors, The Association of Cine-Technicians, 145, Wa-dour Street, London, W.I.. and printed for them 

by The Swindon Press Ltd., Newspaper House, Swindon, Wilts. 




MARCH 
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HIS PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE 



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THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 

The Journal of 
The Association of Cine-Technicians 

Editorial and Publishing Office: 145, WARDOUR STREET, LONDON, W.l. Telephone: GERRARD 2366. 
Advertisement Office: 5 and 6, RED LION SQUARE, LONDON. W.C.I . Telephone: HOLBORN 4972. 



Volume Four: Number Twenty 



MARCH — APRIL, 1939 



Price Ninepence 




JEAN RENOIR 

discusses his past, 

present 

and future 



On Friday, January 27th, at a meeting organised jointly by A.C.T. and the British Film Institute, members 
had the opportunity of meeting Jean Renoir, the well known French film director. Son of the great painter, 
Pierre Renoir, and brother of the actor, Pierre Renoir, he is a forceful, bulky man of middle age with a forth- 
right manner of speech which impresses with its honesty and good sense. 

Reels from "La Chienne," "Toni," and "La Grande Illusion" were shown, and introduced by M. Renoir, as 
follows: — 



FIRST of all, I must say how sorry 1 am that I have 
to address you hi French, but the truth is that I 
do not know a single word of English. The reason 
for this is that when I was about 12 I used to play 
tennis a good deal with some young fellows who made a 
great deal of the fact that they knew English and would 
speak nothing else. If I said "Comment ca va?" they 
would pretend not to understand. From this I got 
the idea that to know English was a sure sign of snobbery 
and affectation, so I've remained ignorant of it to this 
day. 

You are going shortly to see some reels of my film 
"La Chienne" (The Fitch), so I'll tell you how I came to 
make it. I must explain that I'd made a good many 
silent films and gained some reputation for making them. 
Well, when talkies came along, it was found that the 
only qualification necessary to direct a talkie was never 
to have made a silent film. This, of course, left me in 
a hole, and I spent a long time going from one producer's 
office to the next Occupying the luxurious armchairs of 
their waiting-rooms. Finally an inexperienced producer, 
who cannot have beard of the rule that no silent film direc- 
tor could make a talkie, approached m< — with some diffi- 
dence, as be was afraid the subject of the film was a hit 
crude for me. Naturrlly I was ready to accept any- 
thing, and I may say that the film never bad any trouble 



with the censors anywhere. For a perfectly simple rea- 
son. Its subject was the most filthy, disgusting, 
lavatory-minded sewage that it was possible for the wit 
of man to devise. In this film I brought off a coup. I 
recorded with all the care and resources of Western Elec- 
tric the sound of a lavatory chain being pulled and cut 
it in over one scene. It is impossible to imagine the re- 
sounding success of this masterly stroke. Producers went 
wild about it. The manager of Western Electric bad the 
film run through in the theatre to him time and time 
again, simply to get the full savour of this magnificent 
recording of the sound of a lavatory chain. My name as 
a talkie director was made! 

Then I was given "La Chienne" to make, and after 
that I made a film, a reel of which you will also see 
("Toni"). This was a very cheap production made with 
very little money and very few technical facilities, but the 
subject was much more sympathetic to me. So when you 
see this film I should like you to allow for its technical 
failings and think more of it as a step in the direction 
I should like to go. 

Finally, with "La Grande Illusion" (The Great 
Illusion), a reel from which you are going to see, I have 
been asked whether it represents my actual wartime ex- 
perience. Well, I was never captured and in a prison 
camp during the war myself, but the story is a true ex- 



178 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



March— April. 193'J 



perience exactly as related to me by an ex-Air Force 
mend ol mine. 1 touted that story from producer to pro- 
ducer and they all said that it was bound to be a nop 
and that I was wasting my time. Finally 1 came upon 
a new producer just starting up, and not having any sense, 
he backed this rilm which I had been told was bound to 
be a 'flop. 

The reels from "La Chicnnc," "loni" and "La 
Grande Illusion" were then shown. They left a very 
vivid impression. Obviously his main interest is in 
people, and their human relations, and how they ma\ 
lead happier lives. But all his characters are firmly 
fixed in their actual surroundings ; they are part of 
their background and cannot escape it. They must 
accept it and if they wish to change themselves must 
also alter it. In this, Renoir comes very close to 
Pabst. The personal destinies of his characters are 
somehow linked up with the whole fabric of society, 
and with true realism the balance is somewhere 
between psychology and sociology. Though studio- 
uutde, his films smack of the real life of the streets 
and homes of his countrymen, and, sure touch of 
the great director, he holds his shots, close-ups par- 
ticularly, just that little longer that gives a chance 
for the extra shade of meaning, the extra under- 
standing to come through. 

BEEF SHOULD TASTE LIKE BEEF 

I am very pleased to be with you here to-night, and 
I propose to thank you for your kind reception by assuring 
you here and now that I shall never make any films in 
England. The reason being, of course, that the films 
which 1 should make would be very bad ones, while those 
which you make are extremely good, and I think that 
the way for us to tackle our common problems ot creating 
a really good international cinema is for you to continue 
to make English films, and for us on our side to do our 
best to continue to make good films in France. In addi- 
tion, let us try to keep a steady exchange of pictures 
going between our countries, so that we can get to know 
one another by these direct messages sent from nation 
to nation, which is the essence of what films ought to be. 

In parenthesis, I should like to say that circumstances 
may well arise — I need not particularize, we all know 
them only too well — in which I shall be forced to seek 
freedom in England. But in that case I shall come into 
the English film world not as a director but as a simple 
technician — camera-operator, electrician or projectionist. 
I have seen your ordinary man-in-the-street and I like 
what I have seen of him very much. But I would not 
have the presumption to attempt to interpret him in a 
film until I had lived here many years and had the oppor- 
tunity of mixing with him, studving him. and living his 
life. 

In my opinion it is a great mistake to believe in a 
cinema which is "internationally inspired." The English 
citizen can only interest Frenchmen by telling us stories 
about what is happening in his homeland, by trying to 
make us understand and love his country. If he tries 
to describe to us the Rue de la Paix, we have a right 
to retort that we know that street better than he does. 
Just the same with us. A French film is good not be- 
cause it is "international" but because it is typically 
French. What is called "Russian Salad." with all the 
^'reen stuff and so forth mixed up in confusion, is quite 
definitely bad cookery — good cookery consists in producing 
beef which tastes like beef, potatoes which taste like 



potatoes, and fish which tastes like fish. At the present 

time, bhanjj Heaven, (stoat is the general tendency in die 

world, and as a result there is a trend towards 
authenticity. 

SLOW POISON 

Unfortunately the cinema is at the same time a busi- 
ness; this business is in the hands of people ol indeter- 
minate nationality, citizens ol Turkey, Egypt, Macedonia 
or Poland, whose parents were pernaps uorn in Russia 
or America or Germany. The true latherland ol these 
gentry is the sleeping-car; their food the whipped cream 
of tne dining-car; their poetry that ol the inter- 
continental aeroplane. 

Tnej are strong, and if we do not resist them they 
will kill us very gently, not by violent means, but by 
using the slow poison which those gentlemen without 
countries carry with them. 

Do not mistake me. I am not against the adoption 
by our cinema ol foreign technicians or artists; on the 
contrary tiiese new comrades come to us impregnated with 
the perfume of their national folklore, and what they 
bring to our prolessicn can only be enrichment. In France, 
Leonardo da Vinci and Benvenuto Cellini both enriched 
us, and we cannot accuse Erancis the First of treason to 
the French because he welcomed them. Or, as a modern 
instance, who could say that the presence of Picasso in 
Paris, and the fact that he is working in our country, 
is not an honour of which every good Frenchman should 
be fully sensible? 

1 am not against those collaborators who bring us 
their strong arms and their brains, but I am against foreign 
producers and merchants and middlemen. I know too 
well that these gentlemen do not come to us because 
they love the tradition and atmosphere of my country, 
but that they come there simply to grab a tew sous. If 
to-morrow the French cinema begins to decline, they will 
go elsewhere and will instal themselves in the most attrac- 
tive avenues of Buenos Aires, Barcelona or Sydney with 
the same nonchalance as they displayed in planting them- 
selves in the armchairs of their offices in the Champs 
Elysees. 

ONE MAN IS NOTHING MUCH 

Personally 1 believe that the best craftsmanship is 
done by those who keep in touch with their origins. Marcel 
Pagnol, whom I adore, is a great director because he has 
remained a man of Marseilles. When he talks, he dees 
not talk merely in his own name but in the name of 
millions ol small bourgeois, the little southern tradesmen 
who express themselves through his mouth. One man 
alone is nothing very much, but a man who has learnt 
how to become the mouthpiece of a great number is some- 
thing very much more interesting, and it is rather curious 
to realise that badly directed internationalism leads to a 
kind of frantic and furious individualism. Through see- 
ing too many people one seems to be able to see nobody, 
and on earth there is only one thing which counts, that 
is personal contact. I am quite sure that when people 
see and hear one of Marcel Pagnol's films in London, they 
understand that he is not talking just for himself, and that 
it is not he alone behind the screen but the whole of an 
cger and industrious population. This is much more 
interesting to the public tlvn the work of an isolated man. 

1 would like now to give you the concrete reasons 
which fill me with hope for the future of the cinema in 
my country. Permit me to give you a short historical 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAK 



179 



account. In the time of the silent film the controllers 
of the French cinemas were the exhibitors, and lor a very 
simple reason, that our markets were inundated with a 
considerable quantity of foreign films which could be 
appreciated by the French public by the simple means of 
changing the sub-titles. Talking films changed all that, 
since the barrier of language was one within which our 
films found themselves automatically protected from 
foreign competition, and thus the masters of the cinema 
became no longer the exhibitors, but the producers. The 
position is a good deal different for you since language 
does not form a barrier between you and the Americans. 




Jean Cabin and Simone Simon in Renoir's 
"La Bete Humaine" 



MONSTROSITY OF DUBBING 

Several different methods were employed by the 
Americans and Germans in an attempt to recapture the 
French market. Both Berlin and Hollywood made French 
versions of many of their films, but this was cumber- 
some, and soon better ways were discovered. The latest 
is an extraordinary idea called "dubbing." I would like 
quite frankly to tell you what I think of it; I consider 
dubbing to be a monstrosity, a defiance of the laws of 
(iod and man. 

How can we allow a man who has an individual body 
and an individual soul to attach to himself the voice of 
another man, a man who possesses equally an individual 
body and an individual soul, but quite different ones'? It 
is a blasphemous defiance of human personality. T am 
fully persuaded that in the great ages of religious faith 
the inventors of this hideous idea would have been 
burned alive. 

I must take this opportunity of protesting against 
the threat that is being made of dubbing "La Grande 
Illusion" for English audiences. How anybody could 
have conceived the idea of dubbing in one particular lan- 
guage a film, which has as one of its essential characteris- 
tics the fact that all the different nationalities in it express 
themselves in their mother tongue, is beyond my 
comprehension. 

In this film the authenticity of accents, expressions, 
and language plays a first-class role, and I shall do all 
that I can to make the English public aware of the fact 



that the film which is going to be presented to them in 
this way in the name of "La Grande Illusion" has nothing 
whatever to do witn my film. 

Howe\er, in France the public expects dubbing and 
swallows it ; dubbed films do not make much money, but 
they make enough to prevent our own films from going 
into every hall. I hope that soon our authorities will 
realise that they ought to tax dubbing and that the dub- 
bing of foreign films will be considered just as much 
a betrayal of French films as of the authors and artists 
who originally made the film. 1 am all for real com- 
petition between cinemas of different nationalities but 
only on condition that the parties oi this conflict should 
not disguise themselves under false colours. 

MODEST DEFENDERS OF OUR ART 

At the present moment this method of dubbing and 
the dishonesty of many French producers have caused 
our national cinema to tall back. When I say dishonesty, 
perhaps I exaggerated a little — should we rather say 
"inefficiency"? Our producers believed that the mar- 
vellous receipts from the fiist talking pictures represented 
the normal state of things, and under this impression they 
went in for an excess of extravagance. 

In the excitement of the success of their first enter- 
prises anybody and everybody became producers. Banana 
merchants, hall-porters, and business men of every oriental 
country rushed to the Champs Elysees, and proclaimed 
themselves the white hopes of the French cinema. And 
as they had not enough money, they borrowed, and to 
borrow they had to make guarantees which were supplied 
by the middlemen, who risked nothing. With the result 
that today, in January, 1089, the French cinema is in the 
hands of the distributors. 

Well, my dear friends, this is a situation which must 
be stopped, and it will be stopped if the real workers in 
the cinema join together and organise themselves to drive 
from the temple these undesirable merchants. 

In the cinema there are only three people that take 
any risk — the man who provides the money, the man who 
makes the film (this is actually a group of people, director, 
scenario writer, art director, actors and technicians), and 
the man who buys the film and presents it to the public, 
the final judge, that is to say, the exhibitor. And only 
those three groups, thst risk something, should have any 
say in the future of the cinema. 

Already there is a movement growing in France, 
undertakings have been set on foot by organisations of 
craftsmen working co-operatively. It is in this way that 
I am now going to work and I promise you that nobody 
in future will dub my films. This movement has got to 
succeed, and I draw the attention of our English friends 
to its significance. Because if it succeeds, it is the end 
of the combines trafficking in films, it is the end of all that 
succession of crookerv and incompetence that in France 
they call "la cavalerie" 1 It is the end of the forcing of 
bad films on to the producers by illiterate distributors, 
it is the end of the film star who is loaded on to the 
director because she is the impresario's little friend. It 
is the beginning of an opportunity for us. the modest and 
conscientious defenders of our art, to talk to you directly 
from our hearts and to establish perhaps a direct contact 
between our countries. 



(Continued on page 206) 



iO 



THE CINE- T E C H N I C I A N 



March— April, 193'J 



n n 




\'i)itai t)ufaycolor duplex printer for printing 
colour and sound simultaneously 

THE general principles of copying film by the Vinten- 
Dufaycolor Printer are the same as those obtaining 
in most modern Rotary Contact film printing 
machines. The negative and positive are brought 
from their respective take-offs and come together on a 
curved gate incorporating an exposure slit. The positive 
film passes over a constant friction sprocket. The two 
films, alter leaving the gate, pass over a common sprocket 
which is driven through a mechanical filter. The tension 
obtained between the driven sprocket and the friction 
sprocket maintains the two films in close contact with 
the exposure slot in the gate. After leaving the driven 
sprocket the picture negative is taken up on the spool. 
The positive material with the picture printed on it then 
passes to a second printing head, where it comes into 
contact with a sound negative, and eventually the 
"married" print is spooled up at the end of the machine. 
The two heads may be used either simultaneously or in- 
dependently of one another. The sound head may be 
used for printing ordinary black and white stock if 
necessary. 

Light Source 

The light used for printing Dufaycolor consists of a 
500 watt Tungsten lamp, the light from which passes 
through a special red glass filter on to a prism. This 
prism turns the red beam through an angle of 90° and 
passes it through the arc of a 400 watt Mercury Discharge 
tube. The combined light from the two lamps is now 
taken through a liquid Didymium-Chloride filter. This 
filter has been evolved after considerable research and its 
function is to pass the colour wavelengthbands necessary 
for printing Dufaycolor stock. Above the Didymium- 
Chloride cell is a sliding filter holder for a compensating 
filter which incorporated a patented aperture of special 
form and dimensions. 

Light Control 

The printing light is under control both for (a) 
Intensity, and (b) Colour. In the case of (a) there are 
three neutral filters of different densities mounted in 
slides which are inserted into the light track automatic- 
ally. In the case of (b) there are six colour filters in 
similar slide mountings. These slides are operated by 
solenoids, which in turn are controlled through the 



400,000 

COLOUR and DENSITY 
COMBINATIONS 




Interior of lamphousc showing solenoids for 
operating filter slides 



synchronously moving b?nd principle, which operates as 
follows : The negative to be printed is placed on the 
grading machine and this punches a perchment band 
70 mm. wide with the combination of light intensity and 
colour correction which is required. As the negative is 
wound through the grading machine so the paper band 
moves in a ratio of 1,100 with the negative, and at each 
requisite change of light the chart is punched accordingly. 
This method obviates any mutilation or damage to the 
negative, and the chart once punched will last for the 
printing of 100 copies. When printing, the chart is placed 
on the machine and the negative laced with its synchron- 
ising mark at the printer gate. On starting the machine 
the light changes come into action at the point deter- 
mined on the Grader, the whole process from then on is 
fully automatic. The number of different density and 
colour combinations in this system is over 400.000, with- 
out considering the compensating filters. It is thus ob- 
vious that every tyne of colour and density variation in 
a negative can be adequately looked after. 

In practice it has been found that the Mercury Vapour 

(Continued on page 204) 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



181 



ROBERT HERRING on the best 



Editor of "Life 
and Letters Today" 



OF TWO THOUSAND MOVIES 



TEN years ago 1 edited a book called Films of the Year. 
The implication was that they were the best. 1 
can't think why. Most of us are agreed that there 
has never been a good film — not complexly good, 
as good in all its parts as can be. That, in fact, is almost 
the only reason there is tor continuing to be a film-critic — 
the hope that one day there will be a good film and that 
one is preparing the way for it. 

Whilst we wait for that good film, however, nothing 
seems to prevent us from blithely and blandly labelling 
films "best." Hut there's no such thing as a "best" film. 
There can't be when so many factors co-operate with or 
militate against one's viewing of a film. I know myself 
that I have failed to do justice to some movies, which 
shall be nameless, because of a crowded schedule, a cold, 
a wrong time of day to see them in or the wrong audience 
to see them amongst. Any Oi these, and much else, may 
induce the wrong mood and though one does one's best 
to counteract it — and if one is properly professional, that 
is where training comes in — such adjustment remains in- 
tellectual. One hasn't got all the enjoyment there was 
in the film, and to each of us, the "best" films remain 
those we most enjoyed. Others we may conscientiously 
admire and approve, but that particular bell in us which 
means contact, hasn't been rung. 1 think it's no use pre- 
tending. We can only go through our minds and see 
which we remember. Later we may think why, but that 
comes at the end. 

I have been a film-critic now for thirteen years, and 
was a film-goer for long (well, fairly long) before' that. 
There are over two thousand films I have listed as seen. 
Hut I haven't gone through my file. I have trusted to 
memory, amused to see what would emerge. 

There is a maze inhabited by the figures of Clara 
Kimball Young, Pe^rl White, Annette Kellermcn. Later, 
by such as Pauline Frederick and Hayakawa. Oddly, I 
don't remember so much of these films as o' the pesters 
which drove me to them. The films 1 do remember 
haven't titles — there was something which now seems to 
have been a version of Toscu, at w hat was then the Electric 
Pavilion and is now, I think, the fun fair, at M-rble 
Arch. There were swell peonle who were flattened by 
steam-rollers and used as doormats, seen in the movie 
at the f oot of Putney Fridge (were they Bunny and Flora 
Finch?). There was the excitement of seeing the dogs' 
tails change from red to green in Kinem°eolor at the Sc.°la, 
and there was the f'-ee cinema at Mine. Tussaud's. Most 
vivid of all was a film in which a girl, combing her hair, 
saw in the hand-mirror the figure of what was then called 
an "intruder" in her room; more than twenty years later 
I wps asked to ^dmire just this device as latest technic- 1 
development. I remember also the frst super-im-ositiens. 
Tl lesc were the foundat'ons. These were what excited 
one, held and haunted — not with vague ideas of 
"potentiality," but with the fact that t^ev used the same 
terms and tricks as one's own mind. Till then, one h d 
thought nothing did. Among other amusements, circus. 



roller-skating, bath-night, theatres and train-journeys, 
films rang t tic bell. One didn't think of "best" films; 
films were simply the best thing one knew for that most 
important thing to growth, oi making one at home in 
the world by re-creating it. 

And then comes a snag. We don't see the films in 
the order in which they were made. Thus, when I saw 
Caligari and King Vidor's jazz, I was seeing them 
consciously as penod-pieces, and the period was past. 
Against this, other films belong so much to their time 
that it is impossible to dissociate the circumstances of 
that time from the impression they left. British docu- 
mentary has been oversh; dowed by Drifters. To many 
it may have left a greater im] ression than Night Mail, 
North Sea, Nutrition. Hut it would be absurd to say it 
was better than these; it couldn't have been. For the 
s me reason, when I think of Chaplin, it isn't 
The Pilgrim, Shoulder Arms or The Gold Rush I see, but 
The Emigrant. The longer may have been "better" 
films, but it was The Emigrant which allowed him to 
make them and me to enjoy them. So, to me, 
The Emigrant's best. 

There is, too, another complication for the professional 
film-goer, the fact that he has the opportunity of being 
in at the start. If you say to me "Bene Clair," I think 
of Paris Qui Doit, because I remember wondering who 
made it. and finding out. I remember a film called 
Two Arabian Nights. It wasn't a good film, but it was 
better than most. It had something that made one sit 
up, and I decided io follow the director. His name was 
Lewis Milestone. Carole Lombard to me isn't so much 
the star of Nothing Sacred as the girl whom nobody 
seemed to notice in comedy after comedy at Paramount. 
The Torrent means much more to me than it should, 
because it was the first film in which I saw Garbo. 
Between catching trains in Paris, to escape the sun on 
the boulevards, I strolled into a cinema and saw — Garbo. 
Of whom I had not till then heard. So, in that film, 
1 "discovered" her — for myself. 

Every critic has h's pet "discoveries" of this kind, 
and they colour his criticism. Sometimes adversely, be- 
cause it is hard to decide if a star or director were really 
better before they were known or if we ourselves thought 
they were because we were agog with anticipation. More 
often, star and director gain from our memory. I don't 
think I should now be remembering The Wind if Lillian 
Gish and Victor Seastrom hadn't each done better work 
be ore that picture. It was nice to see them again, to 
recall what we had been missing — that, and some feet and 
a cui, rre what T remember about The Wind. They don't 
make it a "best" film. But I remember it wdien many 
"better" are forgotten. And s-> T don't think it matters. 
We may have enjoyed various films, and we may remem- 
ber them, for many reasons, few of which have much 
to do with the aesthetics or the craftsmanship of the 
cinema. But each film we remember gratefully adds to 



182 



THE 



CINE- TECHNICIAN 



.March— April, 1939 



our willingness to appieciate the next. It does also, I 
istill believe, increase our ability to refuse the shoddy. 

To-day, The Four Horsemen and The Thief of Bagdad 
would seem silly. In their day, they were not and though 
even as I look back, I am amazed that they have lefl 
their mark, I am glad that they did. They helped one 
on. There were Westerns that (lid the same — too many 
to recall by name. There was Veidt's Student of Prague, 
irrevocably a "best" of its time, though I couldn't see 
it now. There was the Swedish school, and there were 
Asta Nielsen's films. I suppose no Soviet pictures ever 
equalled in my eyes Potemkin and Mother, because 
Potemkin ami Mother were the advance-guard of the rest. 

And so one goes on, until the maze straightens, the 
mist clears and one says confidently "these are among 
the best I have seen" . . . among fiction-films, 
Foolish Wives, Joyless Street, Pick's New Year's Eve, 
Kameradschaft, Epstein's La Belle Nivemaise and Finis 
Terrae, Arne's Treasure, En Natt, Earth, Pcpi le Moho, 
White Gold, Scarface, Public Enemy, They Won't Forget, 
October, Greed, A Woman of Paris, The Plainsman, The 
Virginian, Horse Feathers, Green Pastures. For Garbo 
Anna Christie and Christina, with As You Desire Me 
thrown in. For Bette Davis, Of Human Pondage and 
Jezebel. Their chief interest technical, The Great Consoler 
and Le Roman d'un Tricheur stand out. I say "cartoons" 
and think of Krazy Kat in Beaches and Screams. My 
favourite Popeye remains A Dream Walking, and Mickey 
— the first I saw, in which the mice used gruyere cheese 
as a pianola-roll. The General keeps Keaton in the front 
line, and Laurel and Hardy still make me laugh when 
I think of Big Business. Of several "best" Sillys, I see 
most clearly The Old Mill and then, thinking of colour, 
laud Len Lye's Colour Box, and Smythe's record of the 
1936 Mount Everest expedition, made on Kodachrome. 



Painleve"s L'Hippocampe and Huxley's Earthworm 
head scientific films in my memory. They are jostled 
by other shorts — the G-B. Medieval Village, Hereford Herd, 
and Development of the Chick; Gas, Light and Coke's 
Children at School; Zenifilm's three-minute series; 
Moholy-Nagy's film on lobsters, and Botha's on tin- 
Face of Britain. Best of the other kind of British film are 
Ou i/ Bob, Edge of the World, Turn of the Tide, The Lady 
Vanishes and presumably, The Citadel. W ith that, latest 
hit, the list closes . . . 

1 said 1 could name these confidently. I should have 
said too "and must, quickly," for already I add Njil, 
in which Bcrgner gave a performance she has never sur- 
passed. NO doubt 1 could go on much longer, repairing 
omissions, but also becoming self-consciously fair. 
Memory plays strange tricks, but it is best to let her 
have her way. These films have come into my mind 
without checking ... a poor enough handful out of two 
thousand, it seems, and none of them good all the way 
through. We hailed them and we remember them because 
at the time we felt that if films could go so far, in time 
they would go further, much further. They were portents 
of hope — "hope for I knew not what," in P^dward 
Thomas's words. If, with all their added resources and 
increased efficiency, films now seen no nearer being good, 
it may be that, again in his words, "just hope has gone 
for ever." 

And yet we find that even today such films have been 
made as Spanish Earth, Spanish ABC and the March 
of Time's noble refugee issue ... It seems enough that 
they should do this much; adequately express what in 
these times we are trying to serve and to save. One may 
doubt and disagree about many in my two thousand, but 
these three are the 'best' to-day. 



Film Workers Discuss Their Problems 

VERY successful meetings were held by the newly 
formed Film Group of the Left Book Club on 
January 19th and February 16th. At the January 
meeting, Mr. Thorold Dickinson opened a discus- 
sion on "The Crisis in the British Film Industry"; he 
pointed out that the renting and exhibiting sides of the 
industry had a stranglehold on production, and only those 
films could be made of which they approved; and that 
economically, British films were virtually becoming "a 
colony of Hollywood," dependent upon American capital. 
The financing of a few American super-films a year made 
over here in no way compensated for the falling-off in 
the number of reasonably expensive British pictures 
which would keep our studios at work, and widespread 
unemployment among the technicians was the result. 

POSSIBILITY OF COLLECTIVE FILM 

The most hopeful solution he could propose was some 
form of collective film, made directly by the producer for 
the specialised audiences at which it was aimed, and 
shown directly to them without the intermediary of the 
film middleman. He suggested to the Group that the 
Left Book Club might be asked to finance a film of this 
kind, each of its members paying in advance for the mak- 
ing of a film on a subject of interest to the Club, which 
would be ready for showing at club meetings some six 
months later. This proposal was received with great in- 
terest by the Group, and a deputation appointed to sub- 
mit it. to the Club, together with a recommendation that 



the subject chosen should be a fiction film of life in the 
Distressed Areas and should be based on Miss Ellen Wil- 
kinson's forthcoming book, " Jarrow : the Biography of 
a Town." 

This has been done, and the proposal is still under 
consideration by headquarters. 

CENSORSHIP 

At the February meeting Mr. W. H. Thompson of the 
National Council for Civil Liberties opened with a general 
talk on Censorship, in which he showed that freedom of 
speech in this country was largely illusory. The proper- 
tied classes, controlling as they do the ownership of news- 
papers, halls, meeting-places, etc., can in many cases put 
an effective ban on public expressions of opinion with 
which they do not agree; and such Acts as the Law of 
Sedition and the charge of using "insulting words and 
behaviour" can be used against political agitators at the 
discretion of the magistrates. Mr. George Elvin followed 
with a talk on Censorship as it applies specifically to the 
cinema; and in the course of the discussion it was sug- 
gested that the Censorship was an "Aunt Sally" set up 
to mask the repressive tendencies of the Government, 
but that courageous opposition to its decrees, at present 
at any rate, is often successful, the authorities seldom 
caring to risk being publicly pilloried as repressive. 

The next meeting takes place on March 16th, when 
"Vigilantes," the famous writer on foreign affairs, will 
be the speaker; details of this and future meetings can 
be had from the Hon. Secretary, Miss Elizabeth Cox- 
head, 8 Lloyd Square, W.C.I. 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



This article is based on a lecture given to A.C.T. members 

THE problems encountered in a commercial sub- 
standard laboratory catering for amateur work are 
quite different from those encountered in an ordinary 
commercial laboratory. The public for which the work is 
done is a highly critical one. The standard of quality 
demanded depends to a considerable degree upon the 
projection apparatus in the possession of the individual 
customer. 

This particular problem is, of course, one which has 
to be faced in an ordinary laboratory in the form of 
release-print density. In the amateur field, however, 
with the variation in projector efficiency, and also in the 
widely-varying projector lamp wattages, the problem 
becomes more acute. At the one end of the scale may 
be a projector with only a 15 w. lamp, while at the 
other end of the scale one may encounter a projector 
with a lamp with as high a wattage as 1,200, and at the 
present time there seems to be little care taken in 



which films are packed in some cases, although proper 
packing materials are supplied with the film stock in the 
first place, it is a strict rule that all in-coming processing 
orders are finally unpacked in the lab. 

Although extra work is involved by doing so, amateur 
customers are invited to mark up their orders as to the 
type of work they have been doing with the film stock 
which they send for processing. The orders are sorted 
out into varieties of material, and types of work, so that 
the processing of these groups of orders may be as good 
as possible. 

As an example, in the first stage of the reversal 
process one type of panchromatic reversal material 
requires eight minutes, while the orthochromatic and 
super-panchromatic varieties need from ten to twelve 
minutes. Exposures that have been made on artificially 
lit subjects must obviously be processed to avoid excessive 
contrast, while titles, on the other hand, need processing 
for contrast. 

In view of the fact that the reversal process is gener- 
ally not very widely known outside those laboratories 



COMMERCIAL SUB-STANDARD PROCESSING 

By STANLEY BOWLER, A.R.P.S. 

Manager — Substandard Cine Department of Messrs. Gevaert, Ltd. 



selection of a machine to suit the conditions under which 
it will be used. 

In order to deal with this matter, the ideal would be 
to treat each order almost as an individual processing 
job. But with an input of several hundred separate 
orders every day, it is not a practical matter, and so 
some compromise has to be arrived at as regards the 
average standard of density. 

The next problem which faces the laboratory manager 
is that of variety of type and difference in length of the 
different orders. As an example, the smallest unit is a 
25' length of single run 8 m.m. Next in line is a 30' 
length ot 9.5 m.m., followed by 25' lengths of double- 
8 m.m. (1G m.m. width). 

In addition to these minimum lengths, the following 
have also to be allowed for : 50' and 100' lengths of 
double-8; 50' and 100' lengths of 9.5 m.m.. and 50' and 
liXY lenri'is of 16 m.m. 

In the laboratory for which I am responsible, we 
encounter all three gauges. In the three gauges of film, 
we have to deal with three varieties of reversal material ; 
three varieties of negative material; positive material 
used both as "negative" stock and as reversal material; 
positive prints from negatives; reversal duplicates from 
reversal originals ; and some negative dupes and some 
positive dupes to complete the list. 

Having briefly outlined the material with which we 
have to deal, perhaps a brief reference to the organisa- 
tion employed may also be of interest. In the first place 
all films, as received, are entered on record sheets, so 
that some control can be kept on the quantities of the 
various types of work handled by the laboratory. Num- 
bered dockets are used which are marked up with the 
details of the order. Owing to the carelessness with 



which cater for this class of work, it is proposed to give 
in some detail the sequence of operations, and the for- 
mulae employed. It should be understood, however, that 
although this series of formulae will process satisfactorily 
a large number of different makes of reversal material, 
their particular and recommended application only applies 
to the products of my own company. 

The reversal process consists of eleven operations, 
and these will now be given in detail, together with some 
explanatory notes at each stage. 

Eirst development. The exposed film is developed 
in an active metol-hydroquinone developer in order that 
this stage shall be as complete as possible, and to ensure 
the parts of the image that were white or very light- 
coloured in the original shall be fully developed right 
through to the base of the stock ... it will be appreciated 
that if this were not done completely, there would be 
a veil of undeveloped emulsion left at a later stage of 
the process which would clog up the final positive image. 
The first developer formula used with Gevaert materials 
has, of necessity, been modified from time to time to 
meet changes in the characteristics of the emulsions sup- 
plied by the company. These formulae are given below : — 





1936 1937 


1938 


1938 










modified 


A. 




grammes 




Metol 


nil 


nil 


4 


2 


Hvdroquinone 


10 


10 


5 


8 


Sodium Sulphite Anhydrous 


70 


70 


70 


50 


Sodium Carbonate Anhydrous 


35 


35 


35 


60 


Potassium bromide 


8 


8 


8 


5 


Sodium thiosulphate 


2 


nil 


nil 


nil 


Potassium sulphocyanide .... 


nil 


3 


3 


5 






1,000 c 


c.s in 


each case 



184 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



March— April, 1939 



B. 

Caustic Soda (NaOH) in sticks .. 100 grammes 
Water, up to 1,000 c.c.s 

With the exception of the "1938 Modified" formula, 9} 
parts of solution "A" should he mixed with \ part oi 
solution "B" for use. 

The whole of the operations are carried out at a 
temperature maintained as nearly as possible at 08° F. 
and average times for the processing of normal speed 
panchromatic stocks are about 5 to 7 minutes, and for 
orthochromatic and super-speed panchromatic stocks 
about to 9 minutes. For under-exposed and over- 
exposed films the first development stage provides one 
of the three possible means of correction or "compensa- 
tion." 

After the first development, the film is very 
thoroughly washed to get rid of as much of the alkali as 
is possible prior to the next stage, which is Reversal, or 
the dissolving awa> of the developed silver image. This 
stage is a finality process and, with fresh baths, should 
not take longer then about 5 minutes. The bath used is 
a normal acid-bichromate one and the following is the 
recommended formula : — 



Potassium bichromate 5 grammes 

Sulphuric acid, 66° Be. or Commercial 

concentrated ' 9 grammes 

Water, up to 1,000 c.c.s 



After the film has been thoroughly cleared of all 
traces of the "negative" image, it is again carefully 
washed, in order to clear the acid and to remove as much 
of the bichromate stain as possible. The clearing of the 
bichromate stain is finally completed in a blesch bath of 
10% anhydrous sodium sulphite. Only a relatively short 
rinse in this bath is required in o:der to clear whatever 
stain may remain after the intermediate washing. 

After clearing, the film is again very thoroughly 
washed prior to second exposure. The second of the three 
possible controls over the density of the final image is 
exercised at this point, for it will be seen that if the 
film is only given a short second exposure, the emulsion 
remaining in the film will not be completely fogged out 
and will, therefore, not be capable of being completely 
developed (or darkened) in the second developer. If the 
film is given its full time under the second exposure light, 
all the remaining emulsion will be fogged out and the 
film will be capable of being completely darkened. 
Although theoretically the film is quite safe to handle 
in subdued artificial light rs soon as it has been in the 
reversal (acid-bichromate) bath for about 2 minutes, by 
using a safe-light illumination it is possible to exercise 
the second-exposure control referred to above. 

The fogged emulsion is then darkened in a second 
developer bath — formulae for which are again given as 
before : — 

1933 to 1938 1938 Modified 

Metol 2 grammes 2 grammes 

Hydroquinone 5 grammes 4 grammes 

Sodium sulphite anhydrous... 100 grammes 60 grammes 

Potassium carbonate 30 grammes nil 

Sodium carbonate anhydrous nil 40 grammes 

Potassium bromide 1.5 grammes 1 gramme 

Water, up to 1,000 c.c.s 1,000 c.c.s 



The normal time of development is about three to 
five minutes at 08° F. ior normally exposed films. It will 
again be appreciated that if this second development is 
"cut" the resulting image will not be fully developed, 
and thus if there is a large remainder of emulsion irom 
an under-exposed film, this can be dissolved away in a 
normal fixing bath so as to relieve the final density to 
some extent, and make the film "projectable" even on a 
low-powered machine. 

The film is again washed and then passed to the 
fixing baths which are generally combined with an acid- 
hardener. The fixing bath merely serves in the normal 
way to make sure that there is no undeveloped silver 
emulsion acting as a veil over the final image ... on 
the other hand, it also serves as the third possible con- 
trol to nnest second development as previously referred 
to, and to cut away the unwanted balance of silver 
emulsion. A suitable acid-hardening-fixing bath formula 



is the following : — - 

Sodium thiosulphate 10 ounces 

Potassium metabisudphite 2 ounces 

Chrome alum § ounce 

or ord.nary alum 4 ounces 

or commercial formalin 2 to 4 ounces 

Water, up to 80 ounces 



A thorough final washing completes the process, with 
the exception ol drying, wnich is a normal operation. 
Excessive heat lias of necessity to be avoided in order 
that the acetate base (all sub-standard film is coated onto 
a slow-burning or "non-inflammable" safety base) shall 
not be subjected to unnecessary contraction during drying. 

'J he film having been dried and taken off in large 
rolls, these are taken to the examining room preparatory 
to examination and spooling on small individual projec- 
tion spools, of which there are a number of different 
sizes, in order to accommodate the different units of 
length in the three gauges. Each separate o:der carries 
an identification number, the same as that on the works 
docket. 

During the examination of each film, notes are made 
on a specially prepared report slip which is enclosed with 
every carton of processed film. This report slip is intended 
as a guide to assist the customer in future working with 
similar materials. Although the labour involved in making 
out these report slips may appear great, the trouble taken 
is obviously well worth while from the letters received 
from the customers. 

The processed and spooled film, together with its 
report slip, is then packed in a cardboard carton which 
again bears the order number, and these are passed to the 
Despatch Department. It is the practice of our laboratory 
to maintain as far as possible a 24-hour postal service, 
and with very few exceptions this has actually been 
accomplished throughout the whole of this year — even 
including the heavy summer (August) rush. 

In addition to the reversal materials, negative 
development is dealt with. This follows commercial 
laboratory practice very closely, with the exception that 
the units of length are considerably smaller. 

Positive contact printing, on a step-by-step printer, 
completes the negative-positive service. A 48-hour ser- 
vice is maintained in this branch of the work. 

Reversal duplicating from reversal originals by con- 

Continued on page 207 



.March— April, 1939 



T fi 2 CIiNE-TECHNIClAN 



185 



CHARTER for LAB WORKERS 

Ralph Bond tells the Full story 



.4)! agreement was signed on February lbth, 1939, 
between the Film Production Employers' Federation and the 
Association of Cine-Technicians to regulate the wages and 
■working conditions of all workers in the employ of tin- 
laboratories which arc members of the Federation. It is 
the first Agreement covering laboratory workers in tin- 
history of the British film industry, the first collective 
agreement affecting any entire section of workers in the 
history of the British film industry, the first agreement 
negotiated by the recently formed Employers' Federation, 
and the first collective agreement negotiated by the A.C.T. 
on behalf of a complete section of its membership. 

The A.C.T. Negotiating Committee was George II. 
Elvin (General Secretary), II. Craik (Chairman — Laboratory 
Committee) , and R. Bond, F. Fuller and W. Watts. 



v 



Signing the Agreement 



WHEN the General Council authorised its officers 
to sign the Laboratory Agreement, A.C.T. could 
justly claim that it had partly achieved its 
primary object — the establishment by collective 
bargaining of minimum wages and working conditions for 
its members. 

The Laboratory Agreement is the first step — and a 
very important step too. It has proved that our Union 
is strong enough to win substantial increases of wages for 
a considerable section of the membership. 

NEGOTIATIONS 

The Agreement has taken a long time to negotiate. 
We first suhmitted proposals to the Employers on 
November 21st, 1930. For months they declined to meet 
us. Our members, incensed at this discourtesy, made it 
clear through a ballot vote, showing 90 per cent for strike 



The Agreement operated from March 6th, 1939, and the 
laboratories affected are : — 

Associated British Laboratories, Elstree. 

Automatic Barnes. 

British Lion Film Laboratories. 

Dcnham Laboratories. 

G.F.D. Laboratories, Shepherds Bush. 

George Humphries & Co. 

Kay Film Printing Co., Finsbury Park. 

Kay Film Printing Co., West End. 

J. H. Martin. 

NatiO)ial Screen Services. 

Olympic Kine Laboratories. 

Pa the Laboratories 

K. E. Strange tk Co. 

Studio Film Laboratories. 

action it necessary, that they were not prepared to tolerate 
an indefinite delay and at last, on May 3rd, 1937, the 
Employers agreed to meet officers of A.C.T. and 
negotiate. 

Another delay ensued while the new Films Act was 
heing debated in Parliament and it was not until after the 
passing of this Act, with its Fair Wages Clause which 
included laboratory workers, that representatives of the 
two sides met round tin- table with the serious intention 
o| hammering out an agreement. 

This meeting was held on July 28th. 1938, Captain 
Paul Kimberlev presiding. 

This proved to he the first of a long series of meet- 
ings. Often the conversations were amicable and good 
progress was made. At other times the proceedings be- 
came somewhat heated and deadlock appeared imminent. 
However it speaks much lor the chairmanship of Captain 
Kimberlev that we never actually came to blows! 

On one momentous occasion the A.C.T. representa- 
tives felt compelled to withdraw from the meeting. The 
minimum wage offer from the other side was considered 
unacceptable. We appealed to the Ministry of Labour 
to intervene and shortly afterwards the discussions were 
n sinned and the Employers made a better offer which 
was acceptable. 

Throughout the whole course of the negotiations the 
A.C.T. representatives worked in the closest collaboration 
with the Laboratory Committee and the General Council, 
and great tribute must be paid to the members of the 
Laboratory Committee in particular, who week after week 
advised and instructed their representatives in the most 
thorough and efficient manner. 

On November 29th. 1938. what w as thought to be the 
last meeting between the two sides was held. We met 
from 2.30 p.m. until past 8 o'clock in the evening with- 



186 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



March—April, 1930 



out a break. Time and again it seemed as if no agreement 
would ever be reached on the lew outstanding clauses. 
But, by both sides making concessions, agreement was 
reached. Both the employers and ourselves v\ere to 
recommend to our respective Executives that ihr 
Agreement should be signed to come into operation on 
January ist, 1939. 

Alter a ciiarming speech by Captain Kimberley thank- 
ing us lor all the time and energy that had been expended, 
we walked out into Wardour (Street and felt justified in 
celebrating witli a quick one at "The Shi])." 

Of course we celebrated a little too soon, but at the 
moment I am trying to tell the story in chronological order. 

The General Council endorsed the work of its 
Negotiating Committee and decided that a mass meeting 
should be held of all our laboratory members to receive 
a report and endorse, or reject, the proposed agreement. 
This meeting was held at the National Trade Union Club 
on December 11th, and alter thorough consideration the 
members unanimously decided to accept the agreement. 
This decision was communicated to the Employers' 
Federation and we sat down to await their endorsement. 

Then came the anti-climax. On January 13th, 1031), 
the Employers' Federation Executive notified ACT. that 
they could not sign the Agreement until negotiations on 
the Studio Agreement had been completed! 

As these negotiations had only just commenced we 
envisaged a delay of several months. Emergency meetings 
of our members were held and with one voice they de- 
manded that there must be no more delay in signing the 
Laboratory Agreement. 

The Ministry of Labour was once again requested by 
A.C.T. to intervene and a meeting between A.C.T. repre- 
sentatives and the Employers' Executive took place on 
January 23rd. At this meeting it transpired that the 
Employers, contrary to the terms of their letter, did not 
wish to delay the Agreement until the Studio discussions 
were concluded, but wanted certain new clauses inserted 
in the Laboratory Agreement and certain existing clauses 
amended which would be common to the Studio Agree- 
ment as well. 

These last minute alterations were quite unexpected 
by A.C.T. who had very reasonably assumed that the draft 
already negotiated would be the final document. How- 
ever, we examined the new proposals, the most objection- 
able to us being a clause stipulating compulsory 
arbitration, since ample provision had already been made 
in the Agreement for procedure in the event of disputes, 
up to and including reference to the Ministry of Labour. 

Further meetin.es were held between ourselves, the 
employers, the Chief Conciliation Officer of the Ministry 
of Labour, the Electrical Trades Union, and consul- 
tations with the Secret-ry of the N.A.T.K.E. Both these 
Unions were similarly affected by the new clause in their 
Studio Agreements and we had undertaken to consult 
them. 

Finally, a revised wording of the Disputes Clause 
was submitted to us, and after further consultation with 
the other Unions we decided to accent it, although not 
without strong protest against this eleventh hour intro- 
duction of something which had delayed the signing of 
the Agreement for two months. 

TERMS OF AGRFFMFNT 

The Agreement is one that will d'rpctly benefit 95 per 
cent of our Laboratory members, and indirectly, every one 
of them. 



It provides for a 44 hour week in :ill Laboratories ex- 
cept those regularly engaged in newsreel work, where 47 
hours is agreed. Laboratories at present working less than 
these hours will continue to do so, and there is an im- 
portant provision that no alteration shall be made either 
to working conditions (excepting overtime) or wages where 
existing conditions may be better than those provided lor 
in the agreement. 

Overtime will be paid, after 11 or .17 hours, as the 
case may be, at time and a half and workers regularly 
engaged on night shift will receive an extra shilling a 
night. (A.C.T. is not satisfied with the amount of extra 
payment for night work, and although it was the maxi- 
mum offer we could extract from the employers we con- 
sider it entirely incommensurate with the inconvenience 
and strain imposed upon those who are required to work 
when most other people are in bed). 

Very satisfactory, however, are the clauses on 
holidays and sickness. One week's paid holiday is guaran- 
teed after six months' employment and two weeks after 
12 months. In certain cases, applicable to one or two 
laboratories, employees with 12 months service or over 
will receive one week's holiday with pay during the sum- 
mer period and one week at some other time or one week's 
money in lieu thereof. If an employee is requested to 
cancel or postpone his holidays after his date has been 
allocated the Employer will pay all expenses which have 
been reasonably incurred. 

Every employee with up to six months consecutive 
employment will receive in the event of sickness one week 
at full pay and one week at half pay ; from 6 to 12 months' 
employment two weeks at full pay and two weeks at half 
pay ; after 12 months four weeks at full pay and four 
weeks at half pay. All payments in respect of sick leave 
will be made without deduction of a sttm equivalent to 
National Health Insiirance benefit. 

An important additional clause provides for a joint 
committee of A.C.T. and the employers to consider any 
cases of employees whose absence through sickness may 
extend beyond the periods mentioned. 

Other clauses in the Agreement provide for the full 
re^oqnit'on of the appointed officers of the Association; 
an undertaking that there will be no discrimination against 
any employee because of his membership of A.C.T. ; 
machinery for fixing rates and conditions for any depart- 
ment not covered by the Agreement ; and an undertaking 
that where it has been the policy to employ men in any 
department this practice will not be modified. 

There will be a break between calls of 12 hours except 
in urgent cases and where notice has been given to A.C.T. 
representatives. Meal breaks shall comprise not less than 
one hour not later than five hours after commencement 
of work, a second break of half-an-hour if more than one 
hour's overtime is to be worked, and a break of one hour 
not later than twelve hours after commencement of work. 

WAGE RATES 

Now to the wage rates. Firstly, it is agreed that if 
an employee regulrrly performs more than one job he 
shall be paid at the rate for the highest of the jobs he 
does. Secondly, where an employee temporarily per- 
forms a lower grade job than thnt for which he was en- 
gaged he will continue to be paid at the higher rate. 
Thirdly, where an employee has been away ill for more 
than four weeks the man who temnorarilv performs his 
job will be paid at the minimum scheduled rate for that 
job. 



March— April, 1933 



THE CINE- T ECHNICIAN 



1H, 



HOLIDAYS WITH PAY 

AND AFTER 

Thousands and thousands of Trade Union members have 
benefited from the welcome extension of the Holidays with Pay 
movement. Thousands more will benefit this year. 

Many Union members receiving Holiday Pay will no 
doubt wish to take their families away with them for a week 
by the sea or in the country. To know that the whole family 
is enjoying a healthful holiday will in itself be a source of 
happiness and peace of mind. To have a family holiday — and 
indeed to have any holiday that is to be of maximum benefit 
— Union members will do wisely if they resolve to supplement 
their Holiday Pay by personal savings. 

Preparation for this year's holiday should be going on 
now, and the most convenient way of putting by a bit of 
money for it week by week is to join a NATIONAL SAVINGS 
HOLIDAY CLUB. Clubs of this kind have already been 
established in a large number of places of employment 
throughout the country, providing employees with a secure 
means of saving personally for holiday purposes. 

TRADE UNION OFFICIALS in a number of important 
industries are giving valuable support to this scheme which can 
obviously be of great service to Trade Union members. 

The National Savings Committee offers every assistance 
in the organisation of Holiday Savings Clubs, including the 
provision of a speaker to address prospective members and an 
explanatory circular letter for distribution. Membership cards, 
literature, etc., are supplied free. 

Enquiries should be addressed to the 
NATIONAL SAVINGS COMMITTEE 
(Ref.R 21B), LONDON, S.W.I. 



188 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



March— April, 1030 



SCHEDULE OF MINIMUM WAGE RATES 



Minimum Per Week 

£ s. d. 



10 





7 10 



5 10 



10 




Developers 
one Associate 



6 10 



4 10 



Optical Printing 

Optical Printer 

Assistant Optical Printer 

Negative Developing 

Superintendent in a Laboratory em- 
ploying 25 Graded employees or 
more 

Visual Developer in a Laboratory 
irrespective of the number of 

employees 

^Negative 'Developers (Sensitometric 

control) 

Grade 1 

Grade 2 

* Not less than 50 per cent of Negative 
(Sensitometric control) employed by 
shall be in Grade 1. 

*Graders 

Grade 1 (a) 

Grade 1 (b) In Laboratory with under 

25 Graded employees ... 

Grade 2 (a) 

Grade 2 (b) In Laboratory with under 

25 Graded employees ... 

* Not less than 50 per cent of Graders emploved by any 
one Associate shall be in Grade 1. 

Printers 

Charge Hand 

Printers 

Positive Developers 

Charge Hand 

Visual 

Machine 

Dryers 
Negative Dryers 

(a) Newsreel Laboratories 

(b) Other Laboratories ... 
Positive Dryers 

(a) Newsreel Laboratories . 

(b) Other Laboratories ... 
Viewers and Projectionists 

Positive Viewer (Male) 

do. (Female) 
Projectionist (under Theatre conditions) 

First 

Second 

Stock Joiner 

(a) Newsreel Laboratories 

(b) Other Laboratories 

Stock Storekeeper 

Vault Keeper 

Negative Cleaners 

Negative Cleaners (Male) 

Women under Male Charge Hand 
Charge Hand 








10 



Minimum 


Per 


Week 




£ 


s. 


d. 


Positive Joiners (Examiners) 








Charge Hand (Male) 


3 


10 





do. (Female) 


3 








Positive Joiners (Male) 


3 








do. (Female) 


2 


5 





Negative Joiners 


3 








Negative Cutting 








Charge Hand 


4 


10 





Negative Cutters 


4 








Assistants in Negative Cutting Room 


3 








Sensitometric Control 








13** —A 

t irst 











Second (a) Newsreel Laboratories ... 


3 








(b) Other Laboratories 


2 


17 


6 


Laboratory Mechanics 








First 


5 


10 





Second 


3 


15 





Single Mechanic in Laboratory em- 








ploying under 25 Graded em- 








ployees 


4 


10 





Chemical Mixers 








First 


4 


5 





Second (a) Newsreel Laboratories ... 


3 








(b) Other Laboratories 


2 


17 


6 


*Still Darkroom 


4 


10 






* To be adjusted if necessary in accordance with studio 
rate when agreement is negotiated. 



JUVENILES 

Male 



Under 16 years of age 
Over 16 and under 17 
Over 17 and under 18 



£ s. d. 

1 

1 5 

1 10 



Female 

£ s. d. 
10 
12 6 
15 



3 


5 











3 


2 


6 


IMPROVERS 












Male 


Female 


3 








£ s. d. 


£ s. 


d. 


2 


17 


6 


Over 18 and under 10 1 17 6 1st year 


1 7 


6 








Over 10 and under 20 2 2 6 2nd year 


1 10 





3 


15 





Over 20 and under 21 2 7 6 3rd year 


1 15 





3 








Over 21 — appropriate 












rate for grade with 






4 


10 





minimum of ... 2 17 6 


2 





3 


10 





or Newsreel Labora- 












tories 3 


2 





3 








Newcomers who enter the Industn- over 


the a 


g e 


2 


17 


6 


of 21 shall be paid : — 


£ s. 


d. 


3 


10 





1st 6 months 


2 





3 


10 





2nd 6 months 


2 5 











3rd 6 months 


2 12 


6 


3 








Thereafter appropriate rate for grade 






2 


2 





with a minimum of 


2 17 


6 


4 








Or Newsreel Laboratories 


5 


(1 



No employee will be eligible for the minimum rates 
on any particular job unless he has served in such capacity 
for a minimum period of six months or has satisfactorily 
served with some other laboratory in that capacity for 
six months. 

In fixing the rates for the variety of jobs and grades 
in laboratories, A.C.T. accepted as reasonable the principle 



that there should be two scales of wages for certain grades 
in — 

(a) laboratories employing less than 25 graded 

employees, and 

(b) laboratories employing more than that 

number. 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



189 



The full list of wages provided for in the Agreement 
is alongs ie. 

It will he seen that we have secured a minimum wage 
Of £3 for all male employees at the age of 21 in newsreel 

laboratories, and Of £2 1 « S . 6d. in other laboratories. \\ e 
have also succeeded in establishing for the first time, 
minimum rates for juniors and improvers. 

Of equal importance, we have established the 
principle that youngsters entering the industry will re- 
ceive training in several departments, thus giving them 
the chance to acquire an all-iound knowledge of laboratory 
work by the time they reach adult age. The rates of 
employment of improvers to graded employees 'will not 
exceed 1 in 10 in laboratories employing over 25 employees, 
and 1 in 5 in laboratories with less than 25 employees. 

The Agreement is not everything we could desire. For 
instance we regret the differentiation of wages as between 
men and women in certain grades. We fought hard for 
the trade union principle of equal pay lor equal work, 
but unfortunately very few industries have so far 
recognised this. 

Viewing the Agreement as a whole, however, and 
bearing in mind that it is the first ever to be negotiated 
for laboratories, the General Council thinks it a very 
satisl'actory achievement. This view was shared by the 
members at the mass meetings called to consider it. 

It will run for two years, and if both sides see that 
it is kept, not only in the letter but in the spirit, the 
benefits to our members will be considerable. 

One last word. The necessity for strong Trade Union 
organisation does not cease with the signing of agreements. 
On the contrary the necessity becomes all the greater. 

Every Laboratory employee must lie made aware of 
the full terms of the agreement. The minority of em- 
ployees who are not A.C.T. members should realise what 
has been done for them by a Union to which they should 
be proud to belong. 

Let us set ourselves these objectives : — 

(/) 100 per cent membership in every laboratory 
as speedily as possible. 

(2) A strong representative A.C.T. committee in 

every laboratory. 

(3) Popular and efficient secretaries and shop 

stewards. 

(J f ) Regular branch meetings with prepared 
agendas and full discussion. 

A.C.T. IS MARCHING FORWARD. LET 
EVERYONE PLAY HIS PART. 



TRADE UNION {Continued from page 193) 

asked for Holidays with Pay — Reduction of Hours - and 
many other things, and in some instances have been led 
to ask for regulation to run and maintain these things. 
For certain classes of unorganised work people we have 
secured Trade Board arrangements. 

The Trade Union Movement of this country, how- 
ever, would be very foolish indeed if they ever willingly 
gave up the right and power to organise themselves, 
irrespective of what the Government does. We owe 
nothing at all, so far as our origin and constitution is 



HOLLYWOOD {Continued from page roi) 

together with a new projector editor, manufactured by 
Craig which permits the editing of 16mm. pictures pro- 
jected on to a screen 2\ x '6\ inches. Roy Langford, vice- 
president of the Rotochrome Picture Corporation of New 
York, who produced perfect prints of Kodr chrome back in 
1936 together with variations of colour on prints, speci- 
mens of both of which I have actually shown to the staff 
at Elstree, forsees a day when 16mm. film will be a ser- 
ious competitor to 35mm. A reason expressed is that the 
Kodachrome image, being non-silver, has virtually no 
grain and is capable of great magnification. 

British productions in Hollywood are being received 
with tremendous acclaim, "Pygmalion" and "The 
Citadel" topping the list, with " Drums " and " South 
Biding " runners-up. A great pity that they constitute 




Technicolour Labs, Hollywood 

two years work instead o!' a quarter of that time. British 
Technicolor is considered excellent. The Technicolor 
Labs in Hollywood ; s shown in the accompanying picture, 
are being considerably extended. 

In all the studios we have visited, the most outsand- 
ing and, to me, startling factor, is the small amount of 
light being used. (!iv;_;>; Tol-nd. who always uses a mini* 
iniim of light anyway, has less on the set of "Wuthering 
Heights" than would be found in any ordinary drawing 
room. In spite of that, a stock like Kodak super XX is 
only ir vigue for special work. 

Teddy Sparkhul, Paramount's ace cameraman who 
was with B.l.P. way back in 1930. told me in his opinion 
no stock with a Weston rating higher than about 40, or 
faster than Kodak plus X. will ever be necessary for or- 
dinary work. For exteriors, he added that a faster stock 
would be somewhat of a nuisance, requiring extra neutral 
density filters. "The sun is too powerful in Hollywood," 
he concluded. "That may be so," I replied, "but how 
I am looking forward to a bathe in the Pacific on this 
lovely January afternoon." So I b°thed in the Pacific, 
and the temperature was 72 degrees in the shade. 



concerned, to any help from the state. The Trade Union 
movement would have to consider very deeply before it 
decided to abandon this, position, and depend entirely 
upon the state for help. If you rely upon the Government 
to fix your w ages, then you rely upon the intelligence and 
sympathy of people as a whole, and not upon your own 
strength. The Government can legislate only for 
minimum standards. 



190 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



March— April, 1939 



HOLLYWOOD-on a BICYCLE MADE FOR TWO 



By DRUMMOND DRURY 



A.C.T. camera member, who tells us of his tandem trip 
across the American continent, with Roy Longford, English 
stage director 



PEDALLING the back end of a tandem cycle for an 
average of 14 hours a day is not nearly such an 
exhausting business as being slowly roasted under 
the kleigs — at least when you get used to it. I 
recommend any technician suffering from an overdose of 
"Quota" to jump aboard a bicycle and ride the 3,500 miles 
across this great country — a trip over which we took nine 
weeks. Many were the days on that long highway wr 
thought we should never make it, but many were the 
salutations from kindly strangers, which always urged us 
on. 

With muscles like iron and exposed parts of our 
bodies burned deep tan by ever brilliant sunshine, we 
arrived in Los Angeles late fall, to be immediately seized 
upon as curios — for we had made history unknow ingly— 
the first to cross the continent on a bicycle made for two. 

The fun began the very day of arrival, when we were 
literally dragged out to the modern massive new stream- 
lined broadcasting studio of KNX (Columbia Broadcasting 
System) to introduce ourselves by radio to Californian 
listeners on the first American programme of "In Town 
To-Night." That started the ball which is still rolling 
after 12 hectic weeks, and which is being rolled by the 
good folk hereabouts right on to the ship that is about 
to take us home. 

With no clothes other than the shorts and grubby 
sports shirts in which we arrived, we found ourselves early 
next morning as honoured guests of that extraordinary 
affair, the Los Angeles Breakfast Club, sitting beside that 
grand old man of the Motion Picture Business, Carl 
Laemrnle ; but even more embarrassing was it when Miss 
Beautiful Brunette California for 1938 sat between us, 
looking all of a million dollars. More breakfast clubs, 
luncheons, dinners, parties, schools. Day after day it goes 
on, with visits to the studios and old friends sandwiched 
in between. 

Nestling on the lovely hillside, up in Coldwater 
Canyon in Beverley Hills is a quaint and fascinating 
Mexican farmhouse, and it was there that we had one of 
the most enjoyable days, lunching and playing tennis 
with the Boris Karloffs. During lunch another grand old 
man of the sports and entertainment world came to see 
us— C. Aubrey Smith, with whom Eoy had associated in 
the theatres in England more than 14 years ago. Taking 
us by the arm he showed us from the top of a hill another 




hilltop some miles away, on which were growing two 
isolated trees. They were landmarks of "one acre" which 
he has bought for the small house in which he will retire 
when the movies have no further use for him. Heaven 
forbid ! For Aubrey is a landmark in himself. 

The sidelights of this so-called Glamour City are more 
interesting than the city in itself, which is but a part of 
Los Angeles, fifth in population in the United States, with 
its one and a half millions. The death rate in California 
is awful. The illegitimate speed of motor vehicles — out- 
rageous, the legitimate speed 45 miles an hour, and the 
speed for houses, legitimate or otherwise, 5 miles an hour. 
Yes, speed for houses! One fine day Roy and I were 
intrigued to see a house, comnlete with furnishings, being 
hoisted from the ground. Next day we made another 
excursion to examine the phenomenon more closely. No 
house. The owners had decided to locate elsewhere. In 
a larger house, too big to move as a whole, the owner 
gave a tea party in the drawing roof half, whilst being 
towed along Los Angeles swank thoroughfare. "Wil- 
shire." If you don't like the neighbours in Hollywood, 
you disconnect the water, telephone the movers, and off 
you go replete with chicken house and any herbage from 
the garden to which you have become particularly 
attached. 

Facilities for scientific research are a tremendous 
added attraction in this elepr climate of the Golden West. 
From almost every point of vantage in Los .^n^eles. the 
Griffith Observatory, perched un on Mcint Hollywood, 
is a familiar landmark. There the latest Ziess planetarium 
instrument projects on the dome of a stellar theatre, the 
celestial mechanios of the visible universe : the giant 



.March— April, 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



191 



instrument, manipulated by a remote control organ, will 
bring before the audience scars as they were seen in the 
time of Julius Caesar. In the observatory annex are 
scientific gadgets galore. A button is pressed, and by 
means of invisible and most ingenious effects a complete 
scientific experiment is portrayed at your electrical com- 
mand. But it is the elegance of the demonstrations which 
fascinates. In the "Alcove of Polarised Light," the effect 
of placing various crystaline media before a polarised beam 
is most clearly demonstrated, as is also the behaviour of 
optical glass under different pressures. Another unit 
shows the spectra of a dozen ionised gasses projected in 
turn on to a screen, for your information and education — 
at no cost to you. 




The Griffith Observatory 



Our first acquaintance with a film unit was not in 
Hollywood at all, but in the Middle West, where one hot 
day we found ourselves in the old haunts of Jesse James, 
bad man of long ago. There in a small village ironically 
named Pinewood, a Fox 20th Century unit was actively 
engaged in bringing America's Dick Turpin to life. Since 
then the picture has been released. 

A note oi interest here is that a new type of lamp 
was being used on the technicolor shots; a twin arc broad, 
recently evolved by Bardwell and McAlister, with an 
all-important quality o,' absolute silence in operation. 

The equipment at Paramount Studios ranks equally 
as high as that at Fox, but it was surprising to note, 
during a visit to Paramount, that not one of the six pro- 
ductions on the floor were in technicolor. With then- 
interest in the Dumont laboratories, New Jersey, Para- 
mount created quite a stir with announcements of their 
intentions to broadcast television in a big way almost at 
once. It is of course common knowledge that the K.C.A. 
and N.B.C., principal radio corporations of America, 
started experimental trr nsmissions way back in 19C6, but 
unlike England which is well ahead in the television field, 
conditions and the tremendous distances in this land 
are deterrent factors from similar progress, although ex- 
periments have been given an added zest for the opening 
of the New York World's Fair, and the marketing of 
receivers seems more than probable. 

Outstanding are the rapid strides of progress in the 
16min. field, which has brought sub-standard movies to 
a point where they are considered technically to have 
reached a par with the professional field. Recent progress 
is at its best illustration in the showrooms on Hollywood 
Boulevard, where an absolutely up-to-date 16mm. sound 
projector is demonstrated — n 750 watt model, by Ampro, 
with built in amplifier operating from either A.C. or D.C. ; 

(Continued on page 1S9) 



It costs no more 
for skill, experience, 
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MAKERS 

IN BLACK & WHITE OR COLOUR 

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Let us quote you 
next time 



192 



T HE G ] N E - TE CHNIC1 A N 



March ■ April. 1089 




/ nitiation 
Ceremony oj an 
early 
Trade- Union 



Courtesy : The TA'.C 



TRADE UNION HISTORY AND PRACTICE 



I AM sony that the help the Trades Union Congress 
tried to give your Association and the other Unions 
at the time Oi the passing of the 1938 Films Act 
was not more iruitiul. As a matter of fact it was 
while we were trying to give that help that 1 had my 
first experience oi the film industry and its organisation. 
Quite frankly the experience was not particularly re- 
assuring. I am speak. ng not of the Trade Union side but 
of the employers side. I think from wliat I saw of the 
film industry that in relation to Trade Union history 
and development your present situation is extraordinarily 
interesting. You are a new Union — new not only in the 
sense that 3011 began comparatively recently, but new 
in that the attitude of your employers is, in some respects, 
100 years behind the times. The present attitude of the 
law towards Trade Unionism, the development of trade 
unionism generally, are factors which mean that you will 
not necessarily have to take, in your industry, the length 
of time for development that has to be taken m other 
industries. But I think it is reasonable to say that your 
situation is not substantially different from the situation 
that has had to be faced in most other industries from the 
point of view of Trade Union organisation. I do think 
that in the present situation and in relation to the line 
that you may take in future you have much to learn from 
the history of Trade Unionism. 

Briefly, there are two lines that you might follow. 
You might secure general support for minimum standards 
through Government activity or political pressure on 
Government activity. (This is in many cases absolutely 
necessary). Gn the other hand you might secure strong 
Trade Union organis: tion. but on a completely and 
entirely voluntary basis. 



by 

GEORGE WOODCOCK, M.A. 

{Research Officer of the Trades Union Congress) 



A report of a lecture to members of The Association of 
Cine-Technicians. 

The Trade Union movement of this country is essen- 
tially a movement of the latter kind — a voluntary 
movement. There are in existence to-day statutes relat- 
ing to the Trade Union movement, but that movement 
was not created by law. The present situation with regard 
to industrial relations and negotiations is the result of thr- 
efforts of the Trade Unions themselves. They have done 
this in spite of the law, until the law has eventually 
recognised and accepted the existence of Trade Unions. 

It is necessary, I think, before we begin to consider 
the history, that we consider what trade unionism in this 
country is. 

The structure of the Trade Union movement is in 
some respects complex. There are Craft Unions (like 
your own), General Unions, Industrial Unions, and 
Occupational Unions. The method of government varies 
considerably, but there is one thread that runs right 
through the whole Trade Union movement in this country, 
and that is that it is completely democratic. The 
machinery of democracy in this country can frame its 
own rules. The law can be invoked to see that these 
rules are carried out, but the government of a Union is 
the Union's own domestic concern — the Government of 
the country has nothing at all to do with it. 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



193 



Legally some associations of employers, and even 
certain kinds of trade associations, are Irade Unions, but 
such organisations could not qualify for affiliation to the 
T.U.C. We would never consider affiliation from an 
association of employers. 

The original purpose of Trade Union organisation was 
to protect work people from external attacks on wages and 
conditions — not to protect them against themselves. 
Most employers' associations were formed in the face of 
internal competition or lack of co-operation. As a result 
Trade Unions have greater cohesion and internal 
solidarity than have employers' associations. 

Not only is the Trade Union movement democratic 
but it is non-exclusive. Trade Unions are not exclusive 
in the sense that they do not, in this country, exclude 
people on the grounds of religion, race or politics. Inside 
the movement every individual member has the right to 
express his own opinion and vote in some democratic 
form. The purpose of Trade Unionism is to protect the 
work people against their employers, and in fulfilling that 
function we see no reason for distinguishing on such 
grounds as religion, race or politics. We do distinguish 
in that we do not normally allow inside the Trade Union 
movement people who have no direct interest in the work 
that the Trade Unions are doing. The essential function 
of a Trade Union is to negotiate with the employer. Our 
essential purpose is to unite work people who work and 
serve a particular employer or industry or industrial 
group, so that you, for example, would not allow into 
membership of A.C.T. a man who was a cotton weaver, 
not because of his politics or race or religion, but because 
he had no reason to be a member of A.C.T. The function 
of your Union is to represent, as employees, people em- 
ployed on the technical side of film production. 

We have not been cluttered up in our movement 
generally by what is known as the "intelligentsia." Such 
people have not been encouraged to come inside the 
Trade Union movement. We have been free from 
irrational action which would have led us to dissipate 
our strength and divert us from our essential purpose. 

Why did the movement known as Trade Unionism 
take its present form? The explanation is simple. We 
have to go back quite a long way — back to the time when 
there was very little industry in this country, in fact none 
at all. Back to the time when the Government, by one 
method or another, accepted responsibility for regulating 
the relations between "workmen" and master. But when 
the market extended to oversees, the "middleman" began 
to come between the producer and the consumer, and a 
stimulus was given to mechanical invention and large 
scale factrry production under capitalistic control. As a 
result the craftsman became for the first time in history 
a hir<*d workman with no prospects of ever becoming a 
master of his craft. Not only did this happen, but the 
development also removed from the political considera- 
tion of the country the idea or view of national 
responsibility for the "right" regulation of industry that 
had existed until then. Instead of helping the work 
people to get better conditions the Government went to 
the other extreme and attempted to prevent combinations 
of work people. By 1800 the work people were deprived 
of protection from Government, and at the same time 
they were refused the right of the alternative to that 
protection — Trade Union organisation. In effect the 
Government said: "If wages and conditions of employ- 
ment are to be regulated in this country they will not 
be regulated by us." That attitude determined the first 



principle of Trade Union organisation in this country for 
all time. Work people had to come together in spite of 
the law and not because of it ; therefore the movement 
was bound to be an extremely voluntary one. In those 
days no authority would force you to come together, in- 
deed it was more likely to punish you for coming together. 

Trade Unionism was recognised in this country in 
1825, but it had actually begun much earlier in some 
industries. The fact that Trade Unions were illegal did 
not always deter work people from forming them. An 
employer might know that he could appeal to the law to 
smash the Trade Union but ultimately he began to 
realise that there was not much use in invoking the law 
if he was still to meet with the same opposition. For the 
sake of peace he realised that he must come to some sort 
of agreement with his work people ; so that even though 
the law was against Trade Unionism they still, in many 
cases, fulfilled their normal functions of regulating wages 
and conditions. 

By 1850, some Unions at any rate, had realised that 
there was much to be gained from industry, even as it 
was then organised, if only work people were properly 
organised in permanent Unions with substantial funds. 
This view was based upon the recognition that, as Trade 
Unions, they had a special function which was not to be 
confused with other aspirations or more general applica- 
tion. 

The strength of the British Trade Union movement 
as compared with the Trade Union movement of some 
other countries, is that our Trade Unions have never been 
hampered either in their industrial or political activities 
by confusion between proper instruments for one and the 
other. 

The mass of general labour was not catered for by 
industrial or craft Unions. Until 1894 the mass of "un- 
skilled" labour in this country was completely 
unorganised, working under extremely bad conditions 
and witli very low wages. In 1894 an entirely different 
conception of Trade Unionism was introduced. The 
people were being paid low wages and the best thing they 
could do was to depend in their Trade Unionism rather 
upon allegiance to one another, than upon substantial 
funds and cash benefit. Their purpose was to get into 
the minds of the work peonle for whom they catered some 
idea of working class solidarity. 

In 1900, the Labour Party was formed as a definite 
Trade Union Party. You could only be a member of the 
Labour Party through an organisation such as the Trade 
Union organisation, the I.L.P., or the Fabian Society, 
etc. It resulted in the return of about 26 Labour mem- 
bers of Parliament in 1906. It had an effect upon the 
Trade Union legislation of 1906 and 1913. After the 
War there was a good deal of talk of political action. But 
there has been something of a change since then. The 
Trade Union movement generally has become increasingly 
aware, since the War, of its power and its responsibility — 
its responsibility towards its own membership as well as 
the working class as a whole and society generally. 

We try to get work people to pursue lines that we 
think are desirable and encourage them to do so, but is 
it wise to make irresponsible demands that we dare not 
sustain or that we cannot support by every ounce of 
strength we possess? 

Since the War, Trade Unions have extended the 
scope of their activities very considerably. They have 

(Continued on page 189) 



194 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



March— April, 1939 



IS A GOOD SCRIPT more imp( 



•'/ DO NOT KNOW WHICH I CONSIDER THE Gi 
the chair at the debate arranged by A.C.T. between the 
Directors. "Speaking as a writer, I have always foun 
and wherever possible omitted my best scenes altogety 
scenarists have given me the most unutterable tripe, ji 
floor I have made a few small but inspired changes thi 
Both are creations of the devil." 



FRANK LAUNDER 

(Screenwriters) 



I THINK, in the present state of the film industry, 
instead oi debating whether a good script is more 
important than good direction, it would he more 
appropriate if we discussed whether a good Films Act is 
more important than a 1>. d President oi the J,o; rd of 
Trade. The trouble is the most important peison in 
British studios today is not the writer or the director— 
but the caretaker. 

A numoer of British producers are active looking for 
money for their next pictu.e and a number of technicians 
are very active running after money for their last — apart 
from this there is very liitle else happening. 

I must say I think it is going 
to be very difficult to convince a 
number of people composed entirely 
of members oi the film industry 
that a good script is more important 
than good direction. A good him 
is really made by team-work but un- 
fortunately very few pepole seem to 
realise this. The ord.nary man in 
the street thinks that the screen- 
writer just writes a story on a few 
sheets of notepaper and leaves the 
rest to the actors and actresses. 
Some time ago I heaid a couple 
coming out from a George Formby 
picture and one said: "Formby 
wasn't up to his usual standard" 
and the other replied: "Well he 
can't keep on making up funny 
things." On the other hand the so- 
called intelligent section of the pub- 
lic thinks that a good film is made 
entirely by good direction. I feel 
the people most responsible for this 
mis-carriage of justice are the press. 
For years now they have praised 
everything the director has done. 
They have rushed into print every 
pompous statement that has 
dropped from the director's lips. 
But they are not the only ones to 
blame. Until quite recently the 
producers believed that directors 
were the most important persons 

in films. The renters also believed that directors were 
the life-blood of films. There obviously must have been 
a reason in the first place for all these people thinking 
the director was the most important person in films and it 
might be interesting to go back a few years and try to 
discover the reason. When I first entered the business 
in the last year of silent films, film direction was a mystic 




a.t which only the anointed were allowed to practice, 
directors were the uncrowned kings of filmdom. The 
writer s position was quite another story. He was looked 
upon by all but a lew revolutionaries as a kind of "studio 
pest." I remember when I first went to Elstree I was 
put in an office about lU.t. x 6ft. with two other writers, 
one of whom kept walking up and down the office dictating 
a story for another company, while the other went to 
work on the .Midday Standard. 

In spite ot this scripts were, written, but all directors 
did was to jeer at them, throw them aside and proceed to 
shoot something entirely different which came to them in 
a series of inspirations on the floor. 

So it was back in those days 
the director really became the big 
noise in pictures. But what hap- 
pened when sound came? The 
whole bag of tricks was thrown up 
in the air. A lot of young men 
came into the studio with loads of 
sound apparatus tied up with string. 
They told the director that he could 
no longer shout at the artistes on 
the set. and that the star must 
wear flanelette underwear so that 
she would be receptive to sound. 
The nonsense that was talked about 
sound at that time was unbeliev- 
able. What was even worse for the 
director, for the first time in his 
li.e he had to keep more or less to 
his script, but perhaps the crowning 
blow of all was the "dialogue." At 
first the director attempted to over- 
come this by rewriting the dialogue 
himself on the floor. I remember a 
story told by a well-known play- 
wright. He w as engaged as dialogue 
supervisor by a studio and was 
sitting in conference with the 
producer when the director of the 
film burst into the room. He ex- 
plained that the ship was sinking 
and that the Captain had just 
informed the passengers that there 
was no hope. He wanted a 
dramatic line to get the captain off. The producer after 
about three minutes' deep thought looked up and said 
"What about 'Well — I'm off'?" After another long 
pause, the director said: "No — just 'I'm off'." 

Soon after this the producer began to realise that the 
dialogue devised by the director on the set was very much 
worse than the dialogue written by the scriptwriter and 



.March— April. 1939 



T HE C 1 N E - T E C H N 1 C 1 A iN 



L95 



STANT THAN GOOD DIRECTION ? 



rK EVIL OF THE TW O," said Anthony Asquith, taking 
nvriters Association and the British Association of Film 
itthe director mangled my script, changed my dialogue, 
|t on the other hand, as a director, I have found that the 
L ispeahable dialogue, unshootable shots, and when on the 
h had the nerve to complain. 



F KAN KEY, 1 find it difficult to 
importance of the script-writer and the director. I 
certainly do not agree with the assessment that is 
reflected in tne salaries paid. 1 can recall cases o. script- 
writers receiving £200, while the director got £2. 000 
which is fantastically out of proportion. 

I have known oi scripts that have been so good, that 
no director, however bad, could spoil the designed effect. 
But such scripts are rare, for the simple reason that we 
do not encourage scenarists to write masterpieces, since 
we pay them as little as possible. 

I have written a number of scripts 
and will confess that the fee I have been 
paid has always effected the quality of 
my work. To take two extreme and 
imaginary examples — supposing I accep- 
ted a commission to write a script for 
£200 entitled "Worse Than Death"— 
alter three weeks work I would begin to 
start worrying about the next job an< 
since my script seemed ali right, I woul< 
turn it in. Hut supposing 1 was for- 
tunate enough to lie offered £1,500 for 
writing "The Yankee Vanishes," how 1 
would work! I would take a cottage in 
the country, 1 woidd engage an inspiring 
secretary, 1 would shower my friends 
with lavish "reading lees" in order to 
check up on each draft— in short. I woul 
see that 1 wrote a erackerjack script, 
even if I had to pay others to do it ! 

The value of the director is a variable 
factor. A man may not be a good 
director at all, and yet make good films 
— because he has an encouraging person- 
ality, because he is a good story or 
dialogue-writer, or because Ik 
editor. 

What T mean by being 
a good director — in the 
sense that he is able to in- 
duce the artistes to create 
and interpret, and weld the 
bits and pieces into a com- 
posite whole — is best illustrated by the work of two theatre 
directors — Michel St. Denis and Noel Coward. There is 
always something about their direction that stamps (heir 
their productions and makes it entirely different from the 
results of another director's work on the same script. 

The extent of a director's contribution depends on 
the quality of the script from which he works. If the 
scenarist is just a good storv writer and does not put 
on to paper n complete and exact visualization — shot 



ADRIAN BRUNEL 

(Directors) 

assess the relative by shot — then obviously the director has to make up this 
deficiency and does contribute more than he would other- 
wise have done. 

home directors prefer to have their scripts in what 
they call " mast ei -scenes" and then to develop them on 
the floor, as fancy and inspiration take them. It is a 
very insecure and uncommercial practice and in my view 
would only be justifiable if shooting a film were as cheap 
as writing a novel. 

Another reason why scripts are delivered incomplete 
and in master-scenes is that they are easier to re d. 

Producers, financiers and dis- 



good 



tributors are moie amenable 
to making a quick decision 
it the script is simplified for 
them, lor they are liable to become 
confused by a properly split up 
scenario and inclined to say, "Seven 
hundred scenes — much too long!" 

Ii I were a producer or a film 
financier, I would insiit on every 
picture I made being described in 
such detail that \ would have on 
paper a description as near as pos- 
sible ol what I expected to have on 
celluloid. 1 would plan on paper 
every battle I expected to fight on 
the floor — and my experience con- 
vinces me that with such a policy, 
we should w in at least nine out ot 
ev ery ten of our battles. 

In all this pre; arotory work, 
'he director has a definite place and 
responsibility. His function should 
be t>> advise the script-writer at 
various stages, to suggest, to edit, 
to encourage, to criticise and to 
appreciate. An ungenerous, jealous 
and ungrateful attitude from 
the director to the script- 
>■ Uer j s suicidal. Some 
directors have built up their 
reputations by picking other 
people's brains — and why 
who is mean and does not 
of his collaborators will soon 
lelpers. 

In brief. I would say that a good script is the first 
essential — and a proper reward for this is a necessary 
corollary. As to the amount of this reward, obviously 
the director's job lasts longer and his responsibility is 
greater — but it is time producers realised that if they want 




not'.' But the director 
acknowledge the service 
freeze off enthuiasti 



196 



I' 1 I E C J N E - T E CHN1CIAN 



March-— April, IWJ 



FRANK LAUNDER (Screenwriters): 
he started by asking the director if he would mind shoot- 
ing tne dialogue written in the script. Tlie success of 
tins new experiment set the producer thinking, and aiter 
another three or four years had passed it struck him like 
a flasn that the author's script mignt be better than the 
director s, which brings us roughly to the present tune. 

iUost producers now insist tnat the script is siiot in 
every detail. It may be said by the directors that the 
scripts of the most successful films have not all been good 
scripts — that they needed good directors to turn them into 
good films. All 1 can say is 1 have never yet seen a bad 
script turned into a good film — and 1 have never yet 
seen a really goo.i script completely ruined by a director. 
It might be interesting to turn to the stage ior a minute 
and see what affinity there is between the theatre and 
the screen. The technique of the stage is different from 
the technique of the film, yet artistically there is great 
similarity. Perhaps what is most dear to the hearts of 
all authors — they are paid more than the directors on the 
stage. Again the authors receive more credit. Some- 
times their names mean more than the names of the actors 
and actresses. Authors have much more say in the 
theatre. They have a hand in the casting and are re- 
sponsible for any alterations made in their plays. The 
status of the director on the stage is very much lower 
than the author's and his name seldom appears anywhere 
except in the programme. 

The situation in films is very different. I do not 
think .here is a screenwriter whose name is known to the 
general public, whereas there are a number of directors 
whose names mean something to a section of the cinema 
public at least. Vet a film director today contributes no 
more to a film than a stage producer does to a play! 

A stage producer has four weeks in which to produce 
a play, rehearsing his artistes, putting in touches of 
characterisation and business until he finally sees the play 
as a whole; then he can trim and shape it until he feels 
it is right. How can this be done on a studio floor when 
the film is often shot in scenes starting at the end of the 
film and working backwards? The answer is, it isn't 
done : the trimming and shaping is either done before 
the film goes on the floor by the writer and producer, 
or afterwards by the film editor. Surely we come to the 
conclusion, therefore, that apart from one having more 
practical opportunities than the other, the film director's 
job and the stage producer's job are very much alike. 
If this is true, then why should the author's position 
be so much more important than the director's in the 
theatre PTid not in the cinema? 

The position of the script writer is not yet sufficiently 
appreciated in this country, but I feel it is simply a 
question of time before it is recognised that not only 
is the writer more important that the director in films, 
but a good script is more important than good direction, 
good camera-work, art-direction and everything else 
bundled together. So after that, in the words of the 
director. "I'm off." 



The Secretary of the Cinema Christian Council, 
Mr. T. H. Baxter, has resigned to take up his appoint- 
ment as Secretary of the Religious Film Society and of 
I • new company, Religious Films Ltd. 



ADRIAN BRUNEL (Director) : 

to make successful pictures, they must give the script- 
writer more time and more money. 

The great directors oi the pasi were always their own 
producers, in the sense that they chose their stories, their 
w riters, their stars and other collaborators themselves. 
There was a nominal producer, but he was the servant 
ot tlie director. 

When this was the accepted policy in Germany, the 
producer realised that his director was an asset and could 
have a public, and in consequence he advertised him. 
And those were the big days of German films. Apart 
from selfish reasons, I honestly believe that such a policy 
of establishing and advertising producer-directors would 
be one of the means for re-establishing our industry. And 
I would go further — 1 would advertise the author. If 
Bernard Shaw, Shakespearse, Milne, Somerset Maugham, 
Priestley, Alien and a host of others can be "box-office" 
to the theatre, I think they could also be to the cinema. 
I do not accept the argument that they never have been, 
and suggest that advertising our producer-directors and 
our writers— as well as our stars — is one of those new- 
angles that might well contribute to the solution of our 
problem in re-establishing British films. 

DISCUSSION 

BRYAN WALLACE thought co-operation should be 
the keynote — writer, director, and producer should form 
an entity, co-operating in all the details of production 
and in the industry as a whole. LESLIE ARLISS agreed 
— it is madness that any script should go on the floor un- 
less the writer and the director have thrashed out every 
situation and seen eye to eye. IVOR MONTAGU also 
agreed that close collaboration at every stage was the 
only possible solution ; although one of his best scripts 
was turned into a very good film by a director who never 
read the script because he couldn't read English. The 
author of a story from which a film is made is paid a 
very large sum of money because the producer is pre- 
pared to pay in order to get a well-known name. If the 
screenwriter has not already made his name, the only 
way to make himself recognised is by producing something 
the producer wants and giving it to him only on the 
screenwriter's own terms. MIl,TOX ROSMER agreed 
that co-operation was the secret. But it should be ex- 
tended. An exhibitor h^d complained to him that there 
is no other business in w hich the person who has to handle 
te product is not consulted at all ; the exhibitor is never 
consulted. Too many producers tend to forget about their 
pictures once they have been shown. They do not know 
or care what happens to their product. 

MICHAEL HOGAX , on the other hand, deplored 
the talk about collaboration. A film writer need 
not necessarily have anything to do with the 
script to be a good director. He need only take 
a serin t, provided it is a good one, and make 
a good job of it. The inefficiency of directors is 
balanced bv their egoism. The stage director has no such 
position. He merely takes a completed work made by 
somebody or other and puts it on the stage. He does 
not re-write the play in the theatre. And a film director 
should get it clear in his mind that he is the man who 
has to direct something; which is given to him. 
/. B. WILLIAMS thought, given a good script and no 

(Continued on page 2on) 



March — April, 1939 



T H E 



CINE- TECHNICIAN 



197 



FOU R-WAY SYNCHRONISER 




FILMS & EQUIPMENTS Ltd. 

121 WARDOUR ST. LONDON W.I 



T II B C I N i: T E C H N I C I A N 



March— AprU, 103'j 



FEDE 




OLA 



II* 1207 
SECHETARIA 



INDUSTRIA DE ESPECTACULOS PUBLICOS 

Av.del 14 de Abril 423 



3ARC3L0NA 



THE ASSOCIATION 
LONDON 



OF 



30 de Die iernbr? 



ClJi 



E3tirnados compan^ros; 
trabajadores ingleses afe 
raovimiento de la Federaci 
para ayudarnos en la guer 
bio espaaol, nos ojliga 
expresidn del agradecin 

^ te' que en esta solidar w 

*V \ para cj_ue al rnismo tiexipo Tep 

Events have moved quickly since the above letter of 
greeting from the Spanish Entertainment Workers' Union 
reached the General Council of A.O.T. Catalonia lias now 
fallen and trade unions, lor the moment, are a thing of 
the past there. Hut the Union continues In function from 

Dear Friends, 

The ever-increasing solidarity which English 
workers belonging to Trade Unions and so to tne 
International teaeration of lraae Unions, have 
demonstrated by the help they have given us during 
the invasion which the Spanish people are suffering, 
leads us to send these present words, not merely as 
an expression of regard from our organisation to 
yours (which corresponus to our own) but also because 
there exists in Spain a tederacion de Lspectaculos 
(Entertainment Workers' Federation) which dates 
from 1919, and which since that date has been 
affiliated to the I.F.I .U. through the Union General 
de 1 rabajadores (General Workers' Union) of Spain. 

Our Federation covers all cinematographic jobs, 
not only in production, such as actors, directors, 
producers, operators, sound engineers, cameramen, 
make-up artists, carpenters, painters, electricians, 
cutiers, examiners, etc., but also in distribution and 
exhibition, such as clerks, projectionists and other 
personnel. 

Against our will, we find ourselves involved in a 
war of invasion in which we fight not only to defend 
our independence but also to maintain the successes 
which in 19 years of organisation we have won from 
our employers, who formerly had no scruples about 
enforcing a 14- or 16-hour day, with salaries that 
hardly covered one-third of the most elementary 
necessities of life, with no security whatever for the 
incapacitated, whether through age or sickness — until 
our organisation succeeded, through the National 
Corporative Organisation, in getting minimum stan- 
dard conditions somewhat more humane. 

To defend the maintenance of these gains, we 
have borne 29 months of war, in which we have seen 
fall beneath the guns of the invaders many valued 




1938. 



la v»-,; : ucentuada \ue los 
Unions y por tunto a nucatro 
rnacional, visn^ prest j'ndonos 
;ue viene sonteniendo el pue- 
esentes lineaa, no solo cono 
inizucion siente por la par- 
'•onderls a ssa org^nizac ion , sino 
^spuria existe una Federacion de 



Madrid, and the determination which Senor Pretel's 
letter echoes is still there. We can but admire 
it, and as trade unionists send our sincere good wishes to 
our fellow workers in Republican Spain. A translation 

follows. 

comrades of ours, many wives and children of our 
members killed by the airplanes which Italy sends to 
bomb our civilian population. You may guess our 
determination to go on fighthig until we win, and 
also our gratitude to all those who have gathered to 
our aid, sending us food to alleviate the increasing 
hardships of our rearguard. 

We are glad to take this opportunity of establish- 
ing with you a direct contact such as we have with 
the workers of other countries, in order to consolidate 
even more firmlu the bonds of friendship which unite 
us through our I.F.T.U. 

The three times that I personally have been to 
London (the first time in 1936 at the I.F.T.U. Con- 
ference; the second another I.F.T.U. Conference on 
our war in Spain; the third to present a personal 
report on that war) would have given me an oppor- 
tunity of greeting you in person, had not my limited 
tim been entirely occupied with the U.G.T. business 
that brought me to your city. But to-day, by exvress 
de c he of my colleagues on the Executive of the 
F.E.P., and at the same time satisfying a wish of my 
own, I address these few lines to you, so that, however 
briefly, y r u may know of our organisation and of the 
vivid gratitude that the entertainment workers of 
Svain feel for your help, which we hove may be 
increased as much as possible, since it will helv your 
brothers, the worker < ^f Spain, to emerge victorious 
from this tragic conflict. 

In the hope of your renly, which will give great 
pleasure to our members, I remain, 
Fraternally yours, 

In the name of the Executive Committee, 

(Signed) FELIPE PRETEL, 
General Secretary, Federacidn Espectdculos Publicos. 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE - TECHNICIAN 



199 



THE crisis — the Premier goes to Godesberg — Parlia- 
ment reassembles — B.B.C. news bulletins in 
French, German, and Italian — last minute inter- 
vention — Munich — the qualified thankfulness of a world 
that can expect its Christmas in peace. Front page news 
in every corner of the world. Sleepless reporters each 
giving another angle on the events of the day. News- 
hawks of all political parties interpreting the news to suit 
their readers. 

And along with them, in every corner where the 
events of the crisis were taking ph ce. was another news- 
hawk, but without the power to translate the news into 
the appropriate colour of individual parties — the news- 
reel camera. The Premier speaks to the people as he 
leaves Heston. The camera photographs, the microphone 
records. Just that and nothing more. And because the 
public were excited and wanted to see just that, the 
busiest cinemas in London during crisis week were the 
newsreel houses. 



the major halls and a couple of features along with it. 
to say nothing of a cartoon or a stage show. Well, it 
so happens that there still is a small percentage of the 
people of this country who do not like the pictures. They 
just would not go to an ordinary cinema for fear of mis- 
timing their arrival and having to sit through two or three 
hours of Greta Garbo or Ronald Colman before coming 
to the tern they want to see — possibly Lloyd George 
feeding 1 is pigs at Churt or that hardy weekly item of 
the march past of a brass band. Indeed some people 
don't even like all of the newsreel and frequently phone 
up the news cinema and ask when does the news come on. 
and does the bit about the mayor opening the sewage 
works come at the beginning or the end and if so just 
< mctly when will that be. Then they drop in and see that 
little bit and go out again. Such discriminating indi- 
viduals form as much as ten per cent, of the news halls' 
clientele. The other ninety is drawn from the passing 
public, the folks who are in town lor the day and have 




discussed 



by 

J. NEILL-BROWN 



There are about 22 of these small 300 to oOO seater 
halls in the country, 10 of them in London. They are 
planned on the same more or less general principle, and 
though in most of them the news takes up short of twenty 
minutes of the hour's program, that twenty minutes 
forms the most important item of the program. During 
that week of the crisis they clearly demonstrated their 
position as the front page of the cinema in no uncertain 
manner, practically all of them playing to "standing 
room only" all day. Most of them find that the great 
public events of the day always increase the takings, and 
consequently it behoves us to look for a moment at this 
very important section of our industry. 

In the first place it may be questioned why people 
should select a special news cinema in order to see the 
newsreel when thev can see exact lv the same news in 



an hour or two to spare, too 
short to go into a full feature 
show and too long for a cup of 
ten. You will find most news 
cinemas managers very proud 
of the type of patron they 
cater for, not for them the 
ordinary sensation seeker of the west end, but rather 
the thoughtful "man-in-the-street," the artisan who 
takes an interest in public affairs, the educated man who 
wants to get an even broader outlook on current events 
than he can get from the daily papers. It is, in the main, 
the news without comment. And there are those who 
go so far as to want the news without the commentator. 
His is a difficult job, for if he is at all interested in certain 
aspects of public life, it must put a keener edge on his 
commentary to talk of those things. News cinema 
managers have told me that they can frequently tell the 
political opinions of a commentator by the enthusiasm 
he displays. Some managers would like their reels to 
be a little controversial so that they could then present 
more than one side of a problem to the customers and 
let them draw their own conclusions. But others regard 



200 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



March— April, 1939 



this as a dangerous practice and tend to avoid any 
political slant whatsoever. They usually make up their 
own reels from bits and pieces of others, taking good 
care to include only the sections that are likely to give 
no offence to any section oi the audience. Their general 
policy is to do nothing to antagonise the Government in 
power in case it should bring a stringent censorship to 
bear on newsreels, which at the moment do not have 
to be submitted to the (elisor. Mention of the "bits 
and pieces" plan reminds me of a small objection 1 have 
frequently felt to their lack of foresight in this matter. 
It is nothing unusual to see a reel starting with the leads 
of the "G.B. News," followed by the leads of Paramount 
end having a section from Movietone as its first item. I 
cannot see why they should not have their own special 
lead, as they have at the Empire. Leicester Square, 
acknowledging the reels from which the excerpts ate 
taken, and their own end title instead of what I once saw . 
lour separate play-outs. 

The fact that there are as many as 10 news cinemas 
in London and very few in the whole of the rest of the 
country tends to suggest that this type of cinema is 
only really suited to the metropolis. The experience of 
the London halls does tend to show that a vcr\ large 
floating public is necessary before even the small numbers 
that go to the news cinemas can be collected. It has 
been thought in some quarters that the news cinemas on 
stations, as at Victoria and Waterloo, would be excellent 
paying propositions owing to the large numbers of people 
to be found standing about the platforms at all times 
of the day. Personally I'd as soon cpen one at a foot- 
ball ground on the assumption that with so many people 
about it would be bound to pay. The folks who stand 
about the stations, however, are not there individually 
for long enough to make it worth while to spend an hour 
in the cinema. I should imagine that they only get to 
the station about five or ten minutes before their trains 
go. I notice that in the most recently published report 
of the trading profits of "Capital and Provincial News 
Theatres, Ltd.," the company that owns the two station 
cinemas mentioned, there is a net loss of £1,752, although 
they add later that the company's properties are now al! 
[raying their wa} - . 

Among the London news cinemas there are three 
within a stone's throw of each other that demonstrate 
the different ways in which these theatres can build 
up their own special public. At the top of Charing Cross 
Pioad is the "Tatler, " which has specialised for a long 
time in a general sort of program, built up of about 15 
minutes of news, a cartoon (sometimes two), an interest 
picture, occasionally a comedy, and nearly always a 
documentary. The last time I was there they were show- 
ing that excellent American documentary by Pare 
Lorenz, "The River," the finest thing of its type I 
have yet seen. Pound the corner from it is the "G.B. 
Movietone" theatre, which is claimed to be the only 
genuine NEWS theatre in London. It shows nothing 
else but news, except a travel film now and then. They 
have a special reel made up for them by Movietone which 
includes all the items in the general release, and a lot 
more besides. Not only so but it is fuller on each point 
it deals with than the major cinema copy. The manager 
there tells me that he has the best and most intelligent 
audience in all London. It has been open continuously 
for eight years and during that time its programmes have 
been seen by no less than six million people. Back in the 
Charing Cross Road, but at the bottom end, is the 



"Cameo," which has built up a regular clientele by the 
showing of comedy as its main item. In the same week 
as I saw "The River" at the "Tatler" (and the hall was 
almost full at 3 o'clock in the afternoon), I saw the show 
at the "Cameo," which was running a program entirely 
made up (except lor the news) of comedy shorts by 
M.G.M. who had won the Academy prize for the best 
continuous run of comedy shorts for the year. It was a 
I airly good program, though I considered that I had seen 
better individual shorts beiore. The hall again was about 
as full as the "Tatler" had been for the same time of 

The "Monseigncur" circuit finds that a program 
somewhat like the "Tatler" is the most suitable balance. 
About 15 to 18 minutes of news, a single reel travelogue, 
a general interest film of two reels, ji cartoon (usually 
Disney), and sometimes a comedy ; and they say that that 
is roughly the order of public appreciation. If there were 
more news they would give more of their time to it, and 
if it were interesting enough to run the full hour they 
would leave the other things out. 

In a short review of the situation like this it is 
(piite impossible to deal with the' problematic future of 
news theatres. They may expand, they may not. They 
may leave out the other shorts and concentrate on the 
news; again they may not. But whatever they do I hope 
they will continue to exist if for no other reason than 
lor the use of the shorts producers. In the major halls 
the short is, as W ardour Street correctly puts it, a "fill- 
up." Jt provides a good opportunity for the boy-friend 
to get the girl-friend an ice, complete with spoon, which 
he usually drops on the way back to his seat and spends 
the time of the short under a neighbour's seat. In the 
news theatre it ^6 regarded as of as much importance as 
the rest of the program. 

The news theatre supplies an urgent need for the 
shorts producer in providing a place, indeed the only 
place, in which the short is really taken seriously. 



IS A GOOD SCRIPT (Continued from page 196) 
director, you could still produce a very good film, perhaps 
even a better film. But never in any circumstances could 
a good film be made, given a director and no script, not 
even wit* fbteen other directors to help him out. Mr. 
Brunei had said a script was no more than a story outline 
for the director to fill in. Doubtless there are scripts 
like that, but the usual script told the director in detail 
what he must do, and the best films are made from scripts 
of that nature. "The Citadel," and in fact all M.G.M. 
films are made in the scenario department. 

If the only people remaining in the industry were 
one director and one script-writer (a position we are 
rapidly approaching) said CAPT. NORMAN WALKER, 
and if the writer fell ill and the director was solely a 
director who had never written anything in his life but 
had merely taken scripts and directed artistes, that 
director couldn't both write the script and direct it; 
whereas the script-writer, he thought, could successfully 
write his script and direct it himself. 

SIDNEY MORGAN thought the difference in salaries 
was explained by the fact that the director has the spend- 
ing of the money. He can spend money — or waste it. 
The scenarist can't. Also it is the director, after all, 
who has the last word. It is his judgment on the play- 
ing of every scene. ROGER BUREORD drew a contrast 
between what he called "homespun" and "machined" 
films. Some writers like taking a story away with them 



March— April, 1939 



THE CINE-TECHNICIAN 



201 



and writing it without any interference from producer or 
director. Ihese are the "homespun" workers who would 
really like to be making tweeds. But the commercial 
cinema generally turned out the "machined" product in 
which all the individualities have been ironed out. Even 
so, the writer sometimes shows rugged individuality. Ben 
Hecht, for example, always insists on six beautiful blondes 
sitting in his outer office. One day Myrna Loy came to 
see him, and he threw* her out because she was not beauti- 
ful enough — he had mistaken her for one of the blondes. 
GEORGE DEW HURST felt that the director was in 
closer touch with the public than the script-writer. The 
director was in a better position to give the public what 
they want than the writer, his duty being nearer to the 
public. BOB ASHER thought the director and writer 
should be one person — and the writer of plays should 
leave the writing of scripts alone. If a man can write 
a story he should be able to direct it — and they should 
be one and the same man. 

ADRIAN BRUNEL (summing-up for his side) : 1 can 
see six directors here to-night — but all of them are also 
writers. I still stick to what I said — but I think there 
has been a misunderstanding as to what it was. I do 
not think I said that a good script w as mote important 
than good direction ; what I w as trying to say w as that a 
good script is essential to a good picture. It has been 
said that a director could not manage without a script- 
writer and vice-versa. I am sure the six directors here 
to-night could manage quite well on their own and I am 
also sure there are some screen-writers who could manage 
without a director — but not all — I know one who was 



brought from Hollywood to direct a film here and he had 
to be taken off the production alter two weeks I 

FRANK LAUNDER: I am not going to say ven 
much. The case has really been handed to us by the 
directors. There are three writers here at least who have 
been directors. One actually abandoned direction because 
he thought writing was by tar the most important branch 
of film production. 

It seems to me that whichever way you look at film 
direction it is the translation to the screen of the work 
of an author. Therefore direction can only be at best a 
contributory factor in film-making. It can be, I know, 
a very important factor but onlij in the sense that it 
interprets something which has already been created . . . 
and the work of creation is the real basis of any form 
of art. 

Conductors come and go, but the w ork of Beethoven 
lives on . . . 

Nobody even knows who produced Shakespeare's plays 
— of course it might be pointed out by directors that no- 
body even knows who wrote them either — but at least this 
question has aroused a great deal of interest, whereas 
the question of who directed them has never arisen. 1 
think I might fittingly sum up the case for writers by a 
screen adaptation of the words of whoever wrote 
Shakespeare : — 

"Great producers are born great — but not often ; good 
writers achieve greatness; and directors — good, bad and 
indifferent — have greatness thrust upon them." 



During the past year A.C.T. has : — 


During this year : — 


SIGNED A COLLECTIVE LABORATORY 




AGREEMENT 


? 


COMMENCED NEGOTIATIONS FOR A 


♦ 


STUDIO AGREEMENT 


Contribute to framing policy for the 


INITIATED INCREASED QUOTA 


industry's most critical year by attending 


CAMPAIGN 


YOUR Annual Meeting. 



£fc ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 

GATTI'S RESTAURANT 



STRAND, W.C.2 



SUNDAY, APRIL 16th, 1939 

2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. Admission on production of fully 

5.1S p.m. to 7.30 p.m. (approx.) paid-up Membership Card 



T J I E C 1 N E T EC II N J C 1 A N 



March April, 1930 





The article in our hist issue by George 11. FJvin, "This 
Freedom ," has brought many comments, of which ice gladly 
print a selection 

A. J. CUMMINGS 

(of the News Chronicle) 

Newsreels Will Lose Popular Appeal 

I THINK the exposure of the censorship of the inter- 
view which Wickham Steed and myself gave to Para- 
mount has already had a salut ry effect. But even 
more sinister in my opinion than the Government pressure 
brought to bear on that occasion was the ignoring of the 
return from Spain of the British battalion of the Inter- 
national Brigade — one of the most impressive news events 
of the year. A few more instances of this kind of dis- 
tortion of news values through political prejudices and 
the newsreel companies will entirely lose their popular 
appeal. 

I have never been able to understand what I would 
call the unofficial censorship exercised by Lord Tyrrell 
and his staff. It seems to have no rational basis but 
is dictated largely by outworn social, class and political 
conventions. 

ERNEST W. FREDMAN 

(Managing Editor, Daily Film Renter) 

Losing Ground With Younger Generation 

I BELIEVE in the freedom of the screen just as I 
believe in the freedom of the Press. No doubt some 
restrictions are necessary upon both — but the restric- 
tions should be equal, and tempered with common sense 
and a progressive outlook. If the film is to continue to 
progress, it must keep abreast of public opinion — but if 



we arc to have constant restrictions imposed by people 
most concerned with holding to the ideals oi their grand- 
fathers, then clearly we shall lose ground. 

1 am concerned with the fact that the legitimate stage 
is apparently at liberty to discuss in an intimate manner 
social matters and aspects which the film producer dare 
not hint at. If we continue with such a disadvantage as 
that, we must inevitably lose ground with the younger 
generation. 

There are, of course, other detailed aspects of censor- 
ship, such as, what constitutes offence to public morality ; 
but o i this point 1 believe you may safely leave it to the 
average citizen, who will be the first to object to anything 
really unpleasant. I think the present British Borrd of 
Film Censors performs a difficult task in an excellent 
manner — and if. on occasion, they make rulings which are 
irritating, or daied, we must console ourselves with the 
thought that whatever kind of censorship is imposed it 
must always be open to criticism. At some time or 
another it must clash with a different point of view. 

W hat is most important in this question of freedom is — 
that the screen remains free from political influence. That 
is the most dangerous, because it is the most insidious, 
and, carried to extremes, will create for us a film so in- 
sular as to be futile from the point of view of our own 
culture, worthless as entertainment, and impotent as a 
means of propaganda. In other words, undue political 
influence will create the same kind of film as we are now 
seeing from the totalitarian states. 

Of course, it would be ideal to be free of censorship 
of any kind — but I am afraid that is impossible. We have 
to decide whet